Ellon United 1
Banchory St.Ternan 3
The weather conditions were not conducive to writing match reports as the rain started just before kick off at The Meadows, Ellon.
It got heavier with the strong wind as the day progressed, nevertheless, this was a good win for Banchory which brings Ellon into the relegation equation.
Changes in the Banchory line up were enforced by the injury to keeper Murray Buchan, with Blair McIntosh taking over. Scott Davie was not in the squad after his leg injury from the Hermes game two weeks ago, but Ryan Whelan - back from offshore for three weeks - was in the starting line up.
Two corners in the first couple of minutes indicated that there would be plenty of goal mouth action but this was not the case.
A Steve Gray free kick for Banchory was cleared easily by the Ellon defence after eight minutes.
Both sides were finding it hard to trouble either keeper and the first real save came afte,r 16 minutes when a Ryan Whelan free low kick went under the Ellon wall, but was easily saved by Buckley.
Two minutes later Ellon should have taken the lead from a corner when Macauley had a free header six yards out but he sent his effort well over the bar.
Minutes later, from a similar move, Ellon’s Johnston chested the ball past the near post when a header seemed to be the best option.
However, it was Saints who took the lead with the assistance of a blunder from keeper Buckley on the half hour. An attack broke down and, when the ball fell to Darren Pyper, the midfielder’s well struck shot was fumbled by Buckley and agonisingly trickled over the line.
Despite Ellon getting a corner shortly after this, it was Banchory who took the game to them’.
A fine move involving Stuart Rogie and Ban McGregor ended with a cross being scrambled away, and then the speedy Sean Napier almost nipped in to add to his seasons tally, but it was Pyper who got his second of the day after 38 minutes when a clearance found him 25 yards out and his first-time shot screamed into the bottom corner of the Ellon net.
Into the second half and it took Banchory only four minutes to increase their lead. A ball down the left was cut inside to Jack Henderson who turned his man to hit a low drive from 20 yards into the bottom right hand corner of Buckley’s net. But, within three minutes, Ellon reduced the leeway when Macauley’s 20-yard strike found the top of the net.
Despite the Ellon strike creating more chances, the game turned into a bit of a midfield battle and it wasn’t until the 30th minute when the next chance came along. Napier used his speed to chase down a through-ball and, as he dinked the ball past Buckley, the keeper made a vital dive to save at the striker’s feet.
On the 35th minute, Ellon struck the Saints’ bar with the rebound being scrambled away by Darren Reid.
Napier had another one-on-one situation with Buckley but again the Ellon keeper saved at the striker’s feet.
With 10 minutes remaining, Neal Oort replaced Henderson, and Saints played out the remaining minutes for a vital three points that pulls them further away from the bottom pairing of Longside and East End.
This Saturday, January 25, Banchory travel to New Advocates where hosts East End will be looking to for a win to close the gap at the bottom of the table, but Saints will have other ideas in what will be a defining game for both clubs.
n Team: Blair McIntosh, Steve Gray, Ryan Whelan, Darren Reid, Josh Robertson, Stuart Rogie, Darren Pyper, Andy Close, Sean Napier, Jack Henderson (Neal Oort), Ben McGregor. Subs: Rhys Bain, Jack Mitchell, Kyle Brunsmann, Aaron Scully.