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Ellon Amateurs 6 – 1 Haliburton

1st Touch Football Division One (North) at The Meadows on Saturday 22nd December

Report by Andy McLaren

Ellon Amateurs manager Jim Booth has underlined his desire to keep his squad as the best amateur team in the area.

He watched on as his side comfortably beat Halliburton 6-1 to move into third place in Division One (North).

The Aberdeenshire side were formed in 2008 and became the highest placed team in the town for the first time in the clubs history after Ellon Thistle’s relegation to Division Two (East) in 2011.

Booth, who is in his second spell with the amateur side after leaving to become assistant manager at Ellon United, is hoping to create more history by getting the Aberdeenshire team into the Premier Division.

He said: “We have played Premier Division sides such as Insch and Kincorth and only lost by one goal, proving we can compete at the highest level.

“The problem we have is getting a stable team to play every Saturday because the majority of our players work offshore.

“The team’s standards are always high but we must not let our good form slip after the festive break.”

The 49-year-old gained two successive promotions in his first two seasons with Ellon, clinching the Division Two (East) trophy in 2010.

And Booth has no regrets about leaving junior football to return to amateur level.

He said: “When I was offered a second chance at Ellon Amateurs I couldn’t resist it and I am excited at the prospect of progressing the side further.“It was hard to be an assistant after being my own man for so many years but I am excited about what the future holds for me at Ellon Amateurs.

“I have challenged the boys to win their remaining ten league games which will give us a chance of promotion. I believe we have the best bunch of players in Ellon at amateur level but we need consistency.”

Booth was involved with Ellon Meadows Boys Club for nine years, guiding his side to silverware from Under-11s to Under-19s and admits he relishes the rivalry between clubs in the area.

“It’s great we are ahead of clubs such as Ellon Thistle, Newburgh Thistle and the Auchnagatt Barons,” added Booth. “The boys thrive under the pressure of being the leading team in Ellon.

“It would be great for Ellon if we could gain promotion to the Premier Division and you never know, it might still happen this season.”

Halliburton seemed oblivious to the conditions during a promising opening spell, only to tumble behind on 15 minutes when Ellon’s Adam Wilson expertly curled a low shot past goalkeeper Scott Marlow.

The home side had goalkeeper Greg Cumming to thank moments later as he saved Andrew Laing’s tame shot with his legs before Alistair Laird showed good reactions to clear the resulting rebound off the line.

Ellon showed good passing and movement in the tricky underfoot conditions. On 25 minutes, Mark Urquhart’s header was cleared off the line by Graeme Fulton before the commanding centre-back fouled the impressive Adam Wilson inside the box. Urquhart blasted his spot kick down the middle of the goal to make it 2-0 to the home side.

Half-time: 2 – 0

After the break, Urquhart grabbed his second goal of the game when he calmly slotted the ball past the despairing Scott Marlow from the penalty spot.

The Westhill-based side, who are ninth in Division One (North), looked out of sorts and went 4-0 behind when Ellon’s Reece Dempster unselfishly squared the ball to Urquhart who completed his hat-trick with a composed finish from 10 yards.

Halliburton pulled a goal back on 75 minutes when a poor clearance from Cumming fell to Ross Fulton who squeezed the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper.

Ellon’s Fraser Thompson cut into the box gracefully from the left, jinking clear of a couple of challenges before smashing an angled shot into the far corner of the net to make it 5-1 with 10 minutes left.

Ellon’s Niall Murray completed the rout when unleashed an unstoppable volley into the corner of the net on 85 minutes.

Full Time: 6 – 1