Hermes progressed to the second round of The McBookies.com McLeman Cup with a 2-0 home win over Ellon United on Saturday when the tie went ahead at the third time of asking.
Steven Reid had not recovered from the foot injury which forced him off against East End with Jonathon Millsom moving into the centre of the United defence to partner Paul Leahy and Calum Annand stepping back to full back.Lenny Johnson took over in midfield.
United had the wind behind them in the opening forty five minutes and in an evenly contested first half they were just unable to cash in on some excellent crosses although it was Hermes’ McLachlan who passed up the best chance.
The home side struck early in the second half when McLachlan made up for his earlier miss by latching on to a long kick out from keeper Sweeney and brushing aside his marker to run clear on goal.
Hermes added a second in the 69th minute with a replica of their opening goal, this time substitute Mountford picking up a long clearance and using all his experience to push his marker aside to set up his opening.
The opening stages were evenly contested but it looked as if the home side would grab the lead in the 13th minute when McLachlan broke through but Callum Steer in the United goal was quickly off his line and the Hermes striker fired his shot wide.
United responded with Johnson a whisker away from getting on the end of Blair Johnston’s inswinging cross. Ellon broke in the 25th minute with Annand releasing Neil Erskine out wide, He beat his marker on the outside but his shot from the tight angle went beyond the far post.
Hermes moved straight into the attack only to be halted by a fine challenge from Millsom and neither side was able to work the vital opening to take a half time advantage.
The second half was only two minutes old when Hermes snatched the lead with McLachlan collecting Sweeney’s long kick out and brushing off his marker to run clean through.
An early response from United saw Jordan Morrice break on the left but his cross was well cut out by Sweeney with two Ellon strikers ready to pounce. Hermes were awarded a free kick in the 59th minute with Freeland’s curling shot slipping just wide of the far post.
A great tackle from Annand won possession for United. The full back made ground before firing over a cross which was met by Erskine but his header flashed wide.
A good run by Johnson ended with the midfielder being impeded but the free kick came to nothing with a poor cross which was comfortably defended.
Hermes added their second in the 69th minute. Full back Smith picked up a loose ball and launched it forward with the experienced Mountford fending off his marker to set up a comfortable finish.
United made the first of their changes in the 71st minute with Callum Tremaine replacing Mariusz Kwiatkowski then two minutes later they freshened things up further with Ryan Stewart coming on for Erskine.
The visitors were forced into their final change in the 77th minute when the influential Paul Leahy hobbled off to be replaced by Scott McLeod making his return from injury. Chris Craib took over the central defensive roll with McLeod moving into the midfield.
Ellon United: Steer, Annand, Johnston, Craib, Leahy (McLeod), Millsom, Johnson, McCauley, Kwiatkowski (Tremaine), Erskine (Stewart), Morrice.
Hermes: Sweeney, Fuller, Smith, Freeland, Pirie, McRae, Wyness, Murray, Shaw, McLachlan, Stewart, Watson, Mountfield, Nash, Macklin, Winton.
This was a much more encouraging performance from United although they were unable to produce the firepower to push their hosts even further. United continue on cup duty next Saturday with Deveronside their visitors to The Meadows for a 2nd round tie of The Dominos Pizza North Regional Cup.
United will be hoping to go one better than their previous meetings this season when Deveronside have controversially snatched last minute draws.
The tie kicks off at 2pm and will be played to a finish.