Two goals from Ian Cruickshank saw Stonehaven take the points in Saturday’s Superleague encounter with Ellon United at The Meadows. Following a scrappy opening 5 minutes, Ellon had the first chance of the game when the ball was played through and Smith had to be alert and saved well with his feet.
Stonehaven’s first real chance didn’t come until the 15th minute, Horne put a great ball into the box which found the head of Martin Shand whose header forced Buchanan in the Ellon goal into a great save.
The Hive were starting to put the Ellon defence under pressure and minutes later good play between Cruickshank, Glass and Lewis Shand saw the latter play the ball across the box for a corner, which Buchanan in the Ellon goal did well to punch clear.
Just minutes later, another Stonehaven corner found the head of Martin Shand but this time his header crashed off the post.
Ellon were next to threaten when the ball was played over the Stonehaven defence but Smith made a good save to keep the scores level.
Stonehaven were creating the most of the chances but the Ellon defence were just about equal to whatever was thrown at them. On 36 minutes the visitors should really have gone in front, however Martin Shand’s goal bound header was somehow sent over the bar by Chris Steel when it seemed easier to score.
Stonehaven continued to press and forced corner after corner, the goalkeeper then the post keeping the clean sheet intact. Glass missed a golden chance to score on 43 minutes when Martin Shand squared the ball to him in the box but fired his shot over the bar. The opening goal that had eluded the visitors did come before the interval. Steel picked up the ball on the left and played it into the path of CRUICKSHANK who rolled the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Half Time – Ellon United 0 v 1 STONEHAVEN. Stonehaven started the second looking to build on their first half domination and within 10 minutes were 2-0 up. Lewis Shand ran into the Ellon penalty area with the ball and had his shirt pulled and despite the refereeing originally playing on there was no advantage to be had so a penalty was given. CRUICKSHANK stepped up and confidently dispatched the spot kick. The second goal seemed to give the hosts a boost however and 5 minutes later they found themselves back in the game. The normally reliable Croll failed to properly clear and his mishit fell to Bailey who also failed to connect cleanly but the ball still found its way into the back of the Stonehaven net.
Smith was to thank for keeping the lead intact on 70 minutes when Forbes looked to have rounded him and drawn Ellon level but a diving save kept it at 2-1. Good play between Glass and Lewis Shand resulted in the latter firing the ball across the box but there were no takers and the chance was gone. Horne was next to play Lewis Shand in however his effort from distance could only find the side netting.
On 83 minutes Smith again made a fantastic save to keep the Hive in front when Cruickshank lost the ball which resulted in a deflected error being tipped over for corner.
Stonehaven saw the game out to record their fifth straight Superleague victory.
Stonehaven: Smith, Low, Lewis Shand, Croll, McCall, MacGregor (Cormack), Horne (Petrie), Cruickshank, Steel (Nicoll), Martin Shand, Glass
Sub not used: Pyper