Vital win as Ellon ease relegation fears

Ellon's Callum Tremaine nets the only goal of the game against Stonehaven.
Ellon's Callum Tremaine nets the only goal of the game against Stonehaven.

There is still all to play for as Ellon United fight to keep their Super League status.

They did themselves a favour with an important, if narrow 1-0 win over Stonehaven at the Meadows on Saturday.

The weekend results left United with a four-point cushion over East End and a one-point advantage over FC Stoneywood, who are their main rivals, with neighbours Longside already doomed to the First Division next season.

Ellon and East End have five games remaining with Stoneywood only three. Vital matches on Saturday see United host Longside and East End at home to Stoneywood.

Ellon were once again forced to ring the changes with Blair Johnston and Jonathon Millsom pairing up at the centre of defence instead of their usual full-back positions, which were occupied by Calum Annand and Chris Craib moving back from midfield.

The home side might have been made to pay for not cashing in on some early chances.

The opening minute saw Lewis McCauley meet a free kick from Annand only to see his header fly over. Four minutes later Ellon broke on the right with Annand finding Lenny Johnson whose cross was picked up by Jordan Morrice, but his effort failed to trouble keeper Stark.

Ellon had to be on their toes at the other end and it took a timely challenge from Johnston to stop a promising Stonehaven attack.

United snatched the lead in the 15th minute when Annand found Scott McLeod on the right and his cross was finished off by Callum Tremaine.

Stonehaven came close to grabbing an equaliser within two minutes with Wilson’s shot on the turn going narrowly past.

The visitors were awarded a free kick for a soft hand ball incident in the 26th minute. The deep diagonal cross was knocked back into the danger area, but the pressure was relieved when the final shot flew well over.

Ten minutes from the interval pressure from Stonehaven forced a corner which was cleared by a positive punch from Callum Steer.

Two minutes later Johnston broke out from the back and drove forward to find Tremaine who shot wide. Stonehaven’s response was immediate with a shot from Watt finding the side netting.

Early second half action saw United force a corner which was well cut out by Stark, then Stonehaven won a free kick which was met by McCall but his header was well off target.

A slack moment from United lead to a Stonehaven corner which came to nothing.

Another deep Stonehaven free kick was finally cleared by the home defence before Morrice tested Stark direct from a free kick.

Ellon made their first change in the 71st minute with Chris Allsop returning from injury to take up a defensive role on the left in place of Mariusz Kwiatkowski, whose midfield position went to Chris Craib.

Five minutes later the home side made a second change with Ryan Stewart coming into midfield to replace Johnston who had done a power of work.

United defended stubbornly with any Stonehaven pressure, especially from set pieces.

The final action came at the visitors’ end with Stark penalised for handling outside the penalty box, as Ellon ran down stoppage time to hold on to three valuable points.

Ellon United: Steer, Annand, Craib, Kwiatkowski (Allsop), Johnston, Millsom, Hohnson (Stewart), Tremaine, McCauley, McLeod, Morrice, Erskine, Peck.

Stonehaven: Stark, Goate, L Shand, Pyper, McCall, M Shand, Robertson, Sulkevicius, Wilson, Armstrong, Watt, Cormack, Anderson, Low, Berton, Knowles.

Ellon must carry this performance into Saturday’s vital home game against Longside, knowing that at least one of their main rivals must drop points on the day.

United will have the services of new loan signings Kelvin Kennedy and Daniel Peck who have been signed on temporary transfers from Turriff United. The kick-off at the Meadows is 2pm.