1 - 4
Highland League Cup (1st Round)
|Brian Thomson (9)||
Iain Brooks (63)
Tony Low (77)
David MacRae (pen.) (88)
Scott Kellacher (90)
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Paul Winton for Kevin Collins (75)
Mike Smith for George Massie (84)
Brian Whitlock for Brian Thomson (84)
Scott Kellacher for Johnny Seaton (83)
|Graeme Bain (56)||
Brian Macleod (55)
Iain Brooks (73)
A four-goal second half salvo at MacKessack Park saw Nairn County progress past Rothes into the Quarter Finals of the Highland League Cup. The result gave Nairn an element of revenge for the League defeat they suffered at the same ground only a fortnight ago on a pitch that was, not for the first time, nothing short of shameful.
Les Fridge was forced into making two changes to the side as Steven Edwards missed out completely because of work commitments while Martin MacDonald was only fit enough to make the bench. Scott Nicholl and Tony Low were promoted from the substitutes while Scott Kellacher also returned to the bench.
The hosts took only nine minutes to open the scoring as Brian Thomson was again a thorn in County's side and this was the way it stayed despite an Iain Brooks effort striking the post. That man Brooks got Nairn level after the break though before Low fired them in front. Late goals from David MacRae and Kellacher gift-wrapped the win and ensured Nairn would be taking their place in the next round.
The home side made the better start out of the two teams as County huffed and puffed throughout the half without providing any real cutting edge in the final third. The hosts went close after only three minutes as George Massie unleashed a first time shot from 10-yards but this was held by Nairn goalkeeper John Campbell.
The opening goal arrived six minutes later as Thomson netted his second goal against County in less than a month. Allan Stephen broke free down the left wing and his low cross found the former Inverness CT centre forward unmarked at the back post and he made no mistake as he stroked the ball into the net.
County almost drew level in the 11th minute as Iain Brooks' headed knockdown found Johnny Seaton but his low shot from 15-yards lacked any real venom and was held by Rothes goalkeeper Darren Strong.
The visitors were inches away from finding the net after 23 minutes as Brooks unleashed a low and powerful shot from the edge of the box that had Strong beaten but struck the inside of the right hand post and tricked along the goal-line before being cleared.
The Speysiders had a great chance to double their lead as they caught out Nairn at the back only a minute before the interval. A long ball forward by Graeme Bain sent Michael Ewen harring down the right but he flashed his low shot across goal and beyond the far post.
The first action of the second 45 came in the 57th minute as a scramble in the Rothes penalty area saw the ball break to County defender Martin Sanderson but his stabbed shot was bravely smothered by Strong and scrambled behind for a corner.
From the resulting flagkick, Wayne Mackintosh picked out Willie Barron but the County wideman's header whistled just over the crossbar.
Lss Fridge's troops must have thought that their luck was well and truly out when they hit the woodwork for the second time in the game. Barron cracked a shot goalwards from 15-yards but his effort deflected off a Rothes back and smacked the outside of the right hand post.
A Nairn goal was on the cards and it arrived three minutes after the hour-mark to the relief of the visitors. David MacRae sent Brooks racing down the right with a great through ball and he kept his composure to shrug off Rothes defender Mark Adam and slot the ball under the body of Strong.
Tony Low almost put his side in front a minute later with a right-footed shot from the left edge of the penalty area but it was excellently held by a diving save from Strong.
County took the lead for the first time in the game in the 77th minute. Barron surged down the right and picked out Seaton with a low cutback. He teed the ball up for Low who cracked home a low shot from just inside the box that crept into the corner of the net beating Strong at his near post.
The home side had a great chance to force extra time three minutes before full time. Sub Paul Winton whipped in a deep cross from the right that was headed goalwards by the unmarked Allan Stephen at the back post but his effort was held by the well-placed Campbell.
Nairn added gloss to the victory as they notched two goals in the dying minutes. David MacRae was brought down by Nathan Sharp in the penalty box in the 88th minute and he dusted himself down to step up and hammer home the resulting penalty.
Then in the second minute of injury time, the visitors added a fourth as substitute Scott Kellacher was on hand to head home a Mackintosh corner from the left for his second goal of the season, both of which have come against Rothes. (Full Time: 1-4).
An important victory for Nairn on an extremely sticky surface that far from suited their slick passing football and one that prolongs their season by at least one game. The team will now have to sit tight until confirmation of the date for their Quarter Final tie at home to Buckie is given.
|John Campbell (GK)||26||13||-||13||-|
|Scott Kellacher (sub)||25||25||2||118||51|
No league table has been added for this season.