1 - 3
Highland League Cup (1st Round)
|Muir Simpson (68)||
Brian Macleod (15)
Iain Brooks (65)
Iain Brooks (86)
Michael A Rae
Muir Simpson for Scott Forbes (57)
Jamie Miller for Colin Smith (78)
Neal Sinclair for Garry Ewing (76)
Willie Barron for Steve Sanderson (76)
County's season received a shot in the arm courtesy of this win after last weeks shattering defeat at Keith. The victory also keeps Nairn's season alive as they progress to the last eight of the competition at the Speysiders' expense.
Martin Bell brought Skipper Dave Macdonald, Johnny Seaton, Garry Ewing and Steve Sanderson back into the starting line-up in favour of WIllie Barron and Youth Team trio Glenn Main, Wayne Mackintosh and Marc Macdonald.
County started the brighter of the two sides and went close after only five minutes of play. A Garry Ewing corner from the right led to a scramble inside the Rothes penalty area before the ball broke to Gary Farquhar on the edge of the box whose low drilling shot had to be cleared from the goal-line.
Nairn's next opportunity came from another corner, this one after ten minutes. The ball sat up nicely for Ian Brooks on the edge of the box but his volley went past Darren Strong's right hand post.
Five minutes later though and County broke the deadlock. Scott Kellacher played the ball from the touchline into the path of Brian Macleod who stepped inside his marker before drilling a low shot into the net from 10 yards.
Macleod then thought he had grabbed his second of the day only two minutes later but Nairn's celebrations were cut short by he linesman's flag.
The hosts then conjoured their first meaningful attempt at goal after 36 minutes when Michael Ord held the ball up well on the edge of the box before laying into the path of Mark Hamilton who fired wide from a tight angle.
Iain Macrae then strode forward from the defence but his low shot from 20 yards was well held by Michael Rae.
The home side came out determined to get back into this match ad came close when Michael Ord's shot from 18 yards flashed past the post.
Ord again tried his luck for the hosts but his low effort was held by Michael Rae after minute before the hour mark.
Sanderson then went close or Nairn but lifted his head a little as he fired over the bar from 18 yards after 61 minutes.
County then doubled their advantage four minutes later though thanks to a trademark Ian Brooks goal. Brian Macleod sent over a deep cross from the right and Brooks was on hand at the back post to header the ball back across the keeper and into the net.
But The Speysiders refused to lie down and grabbed themselves a lifeline only three minutes later. A corner from the right was headed goalwards by substitute Muir Simpson and was judged to have cross the line despite the efforts of County Skipper Dave Macdonald.
Rothes were buoyed by this goal and were now in search of a precious equaliser and went close when Martin Bain fired just wide from 20 yards after 73 minutes.
They went even closer though nine minutes later. Kevin Shortreed advanced forward from his right-back position and thundered a shot towards goal from all of 30 yards that required a brilliant tip over the cross bar from Michael Rae to deny the hosts an equaliser.
County then passed up a golden opportunity to make things safe after 84 minutes. Johnny Seaton beat the out-rushing Darren Strong to the ball and squared it to Willie Barron who somehow manged to scoop his shot over the crossbar with the net gaping.
But Ian Brooks did secure County's passage into the last eight with four minutes left for play. Scott Kellacher played a defence spliting pass into the stride of the powerful hitman who rounded Strong and stroked the ball into the net for his second goal of the day.
This match may be the springboard County need to have a succesful end to their season as they record their first win since the turn of the year. The side will hopefully gain confidence from this win going into the two up and coming derbys, against Clach at home on Wednesday night and at Station Park against Forres in the next round of this competition next Saturday.
|Michael Rae (GK)||-||24||-||52||-|
|Neal Sinclair (sub)||-||26||1||64||3|
|Willie Barron (sub)||23||22||4||57||18|
No league table has been added for this season.