4 - 1
Scottish Cup (2nd Round)
Andy Matheson (8)
Lewis Mackinnon (12)
Matthew Edmond (76)
Martin MacDonald (77)
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Matthew Edmond for Craig MacMillan (56)
Mike MacDonald for Tony Low (76)
Neil Davidson for Stephen Bruce (76)
Scott Graham for Shaun Kerr (75)
|Tony Low (70)||
Stephen Skinner (30)
Steven Edwards (33)
Shaun Kerr (40)
|Andy Matheson (71)||None.|
Clinical finishers Buckie Thistle progressed to the third round of the Scottish Cup at the expense of Nairn County at Victoria Park with two goals in each half.
It was a case of missed chances for Nairn as the home side made their visitors pay for some glaring early misses by racing into a two-goal lead after only 12 minutes. The hosts seemed to be in cruise control from then on until midfielder Andy Matheson was shown a straight red card for a late tackle on Nairn's Neil MacDonald. This seemed to re-galvanise Duncan Shearer's men and they added a third before Martin MacDonald gave the hosts a glimmer of hope only one minute later. But ex-County hero David MacRae got his inevitable goal in his first match against his former club nine minutes from time to kill off Nairn's hopes for another year.
County manager Les Fridge made one change to the team that won at Lossiemouth last week as midfielder Darren Jarvie was left on the bench in favour Gregg Main, who occupied the wide left position. Buckie went with three former Nairn players in their eleven, all of whom were to have a profound impact on proceedings.
The visitors should have got off to a dream start after only two minutes. Willie Barron latched on to a long Martin Sanderson clearance and raced clear of the Buckie defence before firing a powerful shot high across goal and behind for a goal-kick via the top of the crossbar when well positioned on the right.
Barron's miss was a real let-off for the hosts who punished Nairn for their slackness in front of goal six minutes later. MacRae picked out Craig MacMillan with a ball in from the left and the ex-Cove Rangers front man then helped it on to Andy Matheson, who had made the third man run forward untracked from midfielder. The former Forres man then kept a cool head to stroke an 18-yard shot into the left hand corner of the net that left John Campbell helpless.
The home side rubbed salt into the Nairn wound by adding a second after only 12 minutes. Former Station Park favourite Tony Low tantilised Willie Barron on the right before advancing to the by line. The Nairn captain seemed to give up the ghost leaving Low with plenty of time to pick out the head of Lewis MacKinnon - who spent the 2004-05 season on loan at Nairn - at the back post and he powered home a header from a couple of yards.
Nairn were inches away from pulling a goal back five minutes later. Neil MacDonald's low ball into the box from the left was flicked on by Martin Sanderson to Shaun Kerr at the front post. Nairn's top scorer spun his man and smacked a shot goalwards that flashed just past goalkeeper Kevin Main's right hand post.
And the visitors' luck was really out in the 19th minute when Duncan Jones let fly with a thunderous free kick from 30 yards out on the left that had Main beaten but crashed off the underside of the crossbar and bounced on the wrong side of the goal-line before being hacked clear.
Jones then conjured up a chance for Martin MacDonald in the 34th minute when he picked out the ex-Brora man with a free kick into the box from the left that the Nairn defender sent inches past the far post with a glancing header.
The home side had their first sight of goal since they added their second when MacRae teed up Graeme Stewart six minutes before the break but the former Peterhead man snatched at it and sent his shot trundling past Campbell's right hand post.
Nairn started the second half in the same way they did the first - with Barron passing up a great chance in front of goal. The County forward did everything himself as he intercepted a slack MacKinnon pass out of defence four minutes after the restart. He then ran at Buckie defender Kevin Small and outstripped him for pace on the outside before seeing his tame angled drive held by Main.
Neil MacDonald then sent Wayne Mackintosh haring down the right with a great diagonal pass after 51 minutes but his low and inviting ball into the box was intercepted by Main with Barron waiting to pounce for a tap-in at the back post.
Nairn continued to dominate the half as they pushed for the goal that would give them a lifeline and they almost grabbed it in the 64th minute. Jones' corner from the right was header clear by the home defence but only as far as Neil MacDonald who smashed a first time volley from 22 yards over the crossbar by only a matter of inches.
County's cause was aided in the 71st minute when the home side were reduced to ten men. Scorer of the first goal Andy Matheson was shown a straight red card after sliding in hard and late on Neil MacDonald in the centre circle.
But the home side showed that being a man down had no ill effects as they added a third goal in the 76th minute. Bob Duncan's free kick into the box from wide on the left was headed down by Graeme Stewart to substitute Matthew Edmond who swept home a volley from 15 yards that nestled in the bottom left had corner.
Nairn did grab one back though only a minute later when Barron skipped past Duncan to the by line on the right. His cut back found Martin MacDonald - who had been thrown up front as an emergency striker - at the front post and he delicately clipped the ball over Main at the goalkeeper's near post.
The home side re-established their three-goal lead though as MacRae put the boot into the club that gave him his Highland League break nine minutes from time. He raced away from Nairn's Mackintosh down the left before skipping past Stephen Skinner and clipping the ball over the advancing John Campbell and seeing it go into the net via the underside of the crossbar.
|John Campbell (GK)||27||14||-||63||-|
|Scott Graham (sub)||20||5||-||5||-|
No league table has been added for this season.