Ellon United picked up three more crucial points with a hat trick from Callum Tremaine and a Lenny Johnson strike giving them a 4-1 home win over Longside at The Meadows last weekend.
United got off to a great start and were a goal up within two minutes.
The home side were unable to take their chances to wrap up the game early on, however, and allowed the visitors into the contest with Longside coming close to an equalizer just before half time. A three goal burst in a four minute spell mid way through the second half gave United the cushion they needed. Longside pulled a goal back in the 73rd minute but were unable to put the home side under any great threat in the run in.
United were again forced to ring the changes with too many players missing and they were fortunate to have Fraser Tait available to take over a central defensive roll alongside Jonathon Millsom. One bonus for United was the season debut off the bench of Mark Lawson for the closing ten minutes with the central defender having been out all season. As well as his defensive duties the stopper was denied a scoring return by keeper Napier.
United took only 90 seconds to open the scoring with Lewis McAuley setting up Tremaine. Ellon failed to capitalize on some early pressure which allowed the young Longside outfit to settle into the game and a scrappy first half on a fiery surface ended with a Longside shot going just over Callum Steer’s crossbar.
Longside were first to show after the interval but were unable to breach the United defence and four minutes in it was the visitors who had an escape when they almost got caught out at an Ellon free kick. United really needed a second goal to give them breathing space. The home side gradually built up a period of pressure. In the 57th minute Tremaine found Johnson who made space before forcing a fine save from Leiper. Three minutes later Tait rose to meet a corner from Neil Erskine but his header flew wide.
United’s goal threat finally paid off in the 64th minute. Lewis McCauley picked out Erskine who fed in Tremaine to shoot home his second. It was 3-0 within two minutes. This time McAuley worked his way past two defenders on the by-line before cutting the ball back to Johnson who curled a great left foot shot in at Leiper’s right hand post to leave the keeper stranded. It was 4-0 in the 68th minute when Calum Annand’s penetrating run and cross was met by Tremaine for his hat trick. The United striker came close to adding his fourth only three minutes later but his powerful header off a Neil Erskine cross flew over the bar,
United did blot their copybook two minutes later when they were sloppy for once leading to a simple headed goal by Ryan Gordon which gave Callum Steer no chance. United made their only change in the 81st minute with Mark Lawson replacing Mariusz Kwiatkowski. Lawson took Tait’s place in the centre of the defence with Tait moving across to the right and Annand taking a midfield roll. The change almost paid immediate dividends with the new stopper moving forward to get on the end of a free kick from Erskine only to be denied by a good save from Leiper.
Ellon United: Steer, Annand, Allsop, Kwiatkowski (Lawson), Tait, Millsom, Johnson, McAuley, McLeod, Tremaine, Erskine, Cramp.
Longside: Leiper, Weir, Daniel, Bain, Munro, Carr, Buchan, Gordon, Butcher, Davidson, Tait, Ferrier, McDonald, Mairf, Burr.
Last weekend’s results keep things tight for the second Super League relegation spot. United now have a 7 point advantage over East End with both clubs having four games left. United’s lead over FC Stoneywood is still 1 point with Stoneywood having only two games left. Despite beating Dyce a week past Saturday, Banchory St Ternan have now slipped below United on goal difference with the same number of games played.
United start their difficult run in next Saturday with a visit to Hermes with rivals East End at home to Stonehaven. Stoneywood play Hall Russell United at Newmacher and Banchory host Deveronside.
The match kicks off at 2pm.