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Ellon Thistle 1 – 1 JS XI

1st Touch Football Division Two (East) at the Meadows on Saturday 27th April

Report by Andy McLaren

Ellon Thistle’s David Anderson today admitted it would be “unthinkable” if his side fail to beat the drop to Division Three this season.

The Aberdeenshire side have only two league games to stave off relegation to the bottom tier of amateur football.

Since the leagues were reformed in 2005, Thistle have never been relegated to Division Three.

And David, who is in his second spell with Ellon, believes the return of several key players has kick-started a new feelgood factor at the club.

He said: “It’s been a tough year for everyone involved with the club.

“We haven’t played as well as we know we can and suddenly we have found ourselves in a relegation battle to stay in the league.

“The club is run by good people which is one of the main reasons why players have recently joined the club.

“It would be devastating if the club couldn’t fight off relegation as we have a lot of tradition and are also very well liked in the area.”

Ellon are 5 points clear of the relegation zone, having played two games more than the teams around them.

The Jags won their first cup in over thirty years last season by lifting the Castle Rovers Cup.

David has never played for a football team outside the Aberdeenshire town, having been with juvenile side Ellon Meadows before a brief spell with Ellon Amateurs.

And the 26-year-old, who partners his next door neighbour and childhood friend Neil Henderson in defence, hopes the duo can help save the club from relegation.

“I have known Neil for as long as I can remember and I was delighted when he recently joined the club,” he said.

“One of the most enjoyable factors of playing for the club is being able to play with your friends ever week.

“I think we are capable of beating most teams in the league but it’s all about how the boys apply themselves and the attitude they have during a match.

“The team were relegated from Division One a few years ago but with players such as Neil and Paul Ironside, who has also recently joined, relegation to Division Three shouldn’t be happening.”

Ellon Thistle striker Paul Ironside marked his return to amateur football with a goal in his sides recent 1-1 draw with relegation rivals JS XI.

The 32-year-old, who has played for clubs such as Peterhead, Formartine and Longside Juniors, insists the Jags will not plummet to relegation in their final two matches.

He said: “I have had some great moments in amateur football such as winning Division Two when I was at Ellon Amateurs.

“For me, avoiding relegation with Thistle would be a bigger achievement than winning the league with Ellon Amateurs.

“It would be a sad day if we got relegated but I don’t think this will happen.

“I honestly feel the lads are too good to play in Division 3 and there has also been a great improvement in performances over the last few weeks.”

In a repeat of last season’s Castle Rovers Cup final, JS XI started the brighter and opened the scoring on 8 minutes.

Gregg Cheyne linked well with teammate Greg Enston to calmly place the ball past Sean Adams to make it 1-0.

The Aberdeen side almost doubled their advantage when Adams failed to deal with a high cross but Jonathan Potter could only brush the post with the open goal gaping.

Ironside should have equalised for his side but Rob Boyd saved his effort with his legs on 35 minutes.

Thistle thought they were denied a clear goal when Ironside headed the ball out of Boyd’s hands and into the back of the net but referee Greg Thomson ruled it out.

JS’ Jamie Ewen then had a powerful shot which was well saved by Adams on 40 minutes before Ironside’s audacious volley was tipped around the post by Boyd.

Half-time: 0 – 1

Ellon were awarded a penalty on 55 minutes when Mikey Wild was brought down by Boyd inside the box. Ironside calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.

JS almost grabbed a dramatic late goal on 85 minutes when Richard Crighton pounced on an error from Neil Henderson but his shot was gratefully held by Adams.

The Aberdeen side thought they had won the match when Enston cleverly chipped the onrushing Adams but substitute Connor McLeod cleared the ball off the line to ensure a share of the spoils.

Full Time: 0 – 1