0 - 0
Highland League Cup (2nd Round)
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Brian Macleod for Martin MacDonald (62)
Duncan Jones for Wayne Mackintosh (73)
Scott Kellacher for Johnny Seaton (107)
Jamie Shewan for Donnie Munro (76)
Andy Low for John Coutts (88)
Shawn Scott for Stephen Bruce (106)
Johnny Seaton (27)
Steven Edwards (74)
David MacRae (89)
Mike MacDonald (50)
Kevin Small (98)
Neil Davidson (116)
P Cheyne (Referee)
There was shoot-out joy for Nairn County at Station Park as they held their nerve in the spot-kick lottery to defeat Buckie Thistle in the Quarter Finals of the Highland League Cup after a goal-less 120 minutes of play. Neither side were able to dominate play throughout this tense and nervy encounter resulting in extra-time being required followed by spot kicks but it's the home side who'll progress to next week's semi-final showdown with Fraserburgh.
Les Fridge made two changes to the side that made it through the first round of this competition at Rothes a full three weeks ago. Brian Macleod dropped down to the substitutes bench while Scott Nicholl was omitted from the squad completely. Their places in the starting XI were taken by Steven Edwards and Martin MacDonald.
Both sides created several half chances throughout the 90 minutes and extra time but on the whole it was the defences and goalkeepers who were on top. The visitors looked to have gained control of the shoot-out when Scott Kellacher's opening kick was saved but John Campbell followed that up with a save of his own from Andy Low. David MacRae and Iain Brooks went onto convert their penalties for Nairn while Richie Davidson blasted over the bar and Campbell saved again from Andy Low before Tony Low stroked home the winning kick sending County through.
County created the first opening of the match with six minutes on the clock as Willie Barron's free-kick from the right was met by a glancing header from Johnny Seaton but his effort flashed across the face of goal and just past the left hand post.
Mike MacDonald created the visitors' first opening when he evaded a challenge from Steven Edwards and unleashed a strike from 20-yards that flew just over Campbell's crossbar.
Then Jags striker John Coutts tried his luck as the ball broke to him at the edge of the box but Edwards was on hand to deflect the former Cove Rangers striker's effort wide of the post.
Coutts then attempted to turn creator in the 39th minute as he weaved his way to the by-line down the right and fired in a low cross but his delivery zipped across the face of goal and found no Jags takers before being cleared to safety by the Nairn defence.
County responded by going close themselves, this time through Iain Brooks. Tony Low did well to find space and set up the Nairn hitman but his ferocious shot from the edge of the box flashed past the right hand post of Buckie goalkeeper Kevin Main.
Nairn made the brighter start of the two sides after the interval and came close immediately after the restart. Seaton and Wayne Mackintosh linked up to create an opening for Martin MacDonald but his effort was blocked by Buckie defender Michael Grant.
Seaton then came close himself for the hosts but his drive took a deflection in a crowded penalty area sending it past the post.
County had goalkeeper Campbell to thank for keeping the scores level in the 57th minute when the former Hibs shotstopper pulled off a top drawer save diving low to his left to keep out what seemed to be an unstoppable header from Coutts.
Willie Barron then went close for the home side when he found himself in space on the right edge of the penalty area but his effort was saved by Buckie keeper Main.
Campbell again came to his side's rescue in the 69th minute as he stood his ground excellently to block a driving shot on the angle from Coutts.
The match then progressed into extra time and substitute Brian Macleod had Nairn's best chance of the opening period. He cut in from the left and blasted a shot goalwards from 18-yards that whistled just over Main's crossbar.
Bruce went close for the Jags just before the break but his low effort was easily smothered by Campbell.
County substitute Scott Kellacher had one of the best chances of the whole two hours of play in the second half of extra time as he managed to break free from the Buckie defence to control a David MacRae ball but he opted for power over accuracy and blasted his 20-yard shot at Main who parried it to safety with both hands.
In the shootout, County went first with Kellacher's low effort being saved by Kevin Main. John Campbell then pulled off a save of his own to deny Andy Low before David MacRae found the top corner with his spot-kick. Richie Davidson then blasted over the bar for the visitors before Iain Brooks converted for County and Shawn Scott saw Buckie's third kick saved. Tony Low stepped up to take Nairn's fourth knowing that finding the net would put Nairn through and he duly obliged to put County into their first semi-final in this competition for five years and sparking wild celebrations in the Nairn camp. (Penalties: 3-0).
|John Campbell (GK)||26||14||-||14||-|
|Brian Macleod (sub)||24||31||1||90||6|
|Duncan Jones (sub)||21||26||5||26||5|
|Scott Kellacher (sub)||25||26||2||119||51|
No league table has been added for this season.