Fraserburgh United grabbed three crucial points with a hard fought win at the Meadows, Ellon on Saturday.
The win was even more spectacular considering that United had no recognised keeper and centre half Davey Innes was forced to don the gloves, and he put in a great performance that helped earn his side their first clean sheet of the season.
United have not had their woes to seek this season as injuries continue to plague them. This game saw Liam Rollo (ankle) and Steven Lawrence (hernia) drop out with Forbes and Cowie coming in.
On a cold, sunny afternoon Broch started the brighter of the sides. Gibb and Watt’s pace were occupying the home side’s backline and whilst Ellon’s own speedsters down their left in Jordan and Johnston were looking dangerous, Broch’s Taylor and Ross were handling the threat early doors.
United threatened early when McLeman and Watt combined to find Gibb on the edge of the box but his effort was hooked wide.
Ellon responded in kind and missed the best chance of the game on 13 mins. Lawson’s effort from 15 yards was well saved by Innes but the ball fell to the in-rushing Jordan 5 yards out and with the goal at his mercy he conspired to balloon the ball over the bar. Moments later Innes made a great save with his feet from Bailey’s 10 yard drive.
United breathed a sigh of relief and continued to play their slick passing game with McLeman, Forbes and in particular Ritchie dominating the midfield. It was from these three that United almost took a fortunate lead, when on 26 mins a neat passing move through the middle of the park saw Ritchie switch the ball wide to Taylor and his effort took a wicked deflection off Millsom and looped over Steer in the Ellon goal before bouncing off the bar and away for a corner.
The resultant corner from Gibb found Ritchie 8 yards out but his header went narrowly over.
Ellon were still threatening on the break and only a great tackle from Downie stopped Jordan in his tracks as the diminutive winger looked to burst clear.
United’s pressure finally told on 38 mins. Pressure from Forbes saw him gain the ball in the midfield and he flicked the ball out wide to McLeman whose cross found Ritchie 14 yards out but the midfielder’s sclaff fell right at the feet of Watt 3 yards out and he turned the ball home for the opener.
The second half kicked off with Ellon in determined mood. Forcing the game higher up the pitch they were beginning to turn the screw and came within a whisker of equalising on 50 mins. Stewart’s corner was met by Reid and his looping header smacked the bar and fell to Bailey but a stunning block from Hay saw the ball diverted away for a corner.
Ellon continued to press but the Broch side were holding firm Cowie and Taylor on the wings were working their socks off to deny Ellon space wide and the game saw a lull in the action as both teams cancelled the other out.
However on 70 mins Ellon should have equalised. Jordan’s low cross was met by Bailey 5 yards out. Now, if he had been on the rugby park next door he would have earned his team 3pts as his shot was high over the crossbar and again United thanked their lucky stars.
With Ellon pressing gaps began to appear at the back and United should have wrapped the game up on 83 mins. Substitute Bisset held the ball up on the halfway line and played in Watt. The Broch striker burst away down the left before cutting inside two defenders only to see his goal bound shot hit the Ellon’s Reid on the back and the ball went out for a corner.
United survived a late penalty claim when Croll went down under little contact from Ross but referee Wallace correctly overruled his linesman and United held on for their first away win of the season.
Fraserburgh:: Innes, Hay, Downie, Taylor, Ross, McLeman, Forbes, Ritchie, Watt, Gibb, Cowie. Subs: L. Lawrence, S. Lawrence, Rollo, Davidson, Bisset.