For the third time this season, a match between Ellon United and Deveronside has been dominated by controversial decisions as the Banff side edged through 3-2 in their Dominos Pizza North Regional Cup tie at the Meadows on Saturday.
United were forced to play the second half with 10 men after a harsh penalty decision in the 43rd minute saw the home side’s Mariusz Kwiatkowski receive a second yellow card of the afternoon.
Deveronside’s physical up and under style caused United early problems, but the home side settled down and started to gain useful possession.
Ellon’s play was rewarded midway through the first half with the first controversial decision of the tie. Callum Tremaine was brought down in the box and a penalty given, much to the visitors’ annoyance. Jordan Morrice slotted home from the spot.
A Callum Steer save at the expense of a corner kept Deveronside out, but despite the visitors’ aerial bombardment the home defence coped well and it looked as though they would take their lead into the break.
The referee then took over in the 43rd minute, this time in the Ellon box. Kwiatkowski appeared to have been fouled, but when the two players went down, the referee awarded a penalty before showing the Ellon player his second yellow card.
Blackhall calmly stepped up to send the ball low into the corner to level the scores at the interval.
Ellon changed their formation after the break with three at the back and Calum Annand moving up into midfield.
Despite being a man down, the home side were managing to hold their own but were caught out in the 72nd minute when Lobban put Deveronside ahead.
United made a change in the 77th minute with Ryan Stewart replacing Scott McLeod up front.
The visitors added a third in the 81st minute when United’s Steer came off his line to make a challenge but was just beaten to the ball by the Deveronside striker resulting in an obvious second penalty and a yellow card for the keeper. Substitute Smith fired home from the spot.
An 85th minute header from Paul Leahy pulled United back into contention, but despite their efforts, they were unable to grab a late equaliser.
Ellon United: Steer, Annand, Johnston, Craib, Millsom, Leahy, Johnson, Kwiatkowski, Tremaine, McLeod (Stewart), Morrice, Allsop.
Deveronside: Tait, Davidson, King, Blackhall, Gray, Bruce, Thomson, Lobban, Clark, Thomson, McLeay, Legge, Smith, Milne.
The result leaves United out of all cup competitions and they must now concentrate on the nitty gritty of collecting enough league points to keep themselves in the top flight, starting with the visit of Stonehaven to the Meadows on Saturday. Kick off is 2pm.