3 - 1
3 - 1
Gary Farquhar (pen.) (70)
Willie Barron (88)
Michael A Rae
Robbie Duncanson for Neal Sinclair (84)
Steve Sanderson for Scott Kellacher (89)
Gordon Morrison for Ian Polworth (63)
Neil McCuish for Gary Ross (73)
David Matheson for Colin Mitchell (73)
County record a stunning victory at Station Park tonight courtesy of a 3-1 win over likely League champions Clachnacuddin. This was the side's second win on the spin and credit must be given to all of the players aswell as Martin Bell and Geoff Hancock for the brilliant job they have done since taking over in the short-term not only to gel the team back together as one but to record a result such as this in only a short period of time.
Bell brought Willie Barron back into the starting XI as Steve Sanderson dropped down to the bench while Garry Ewing missed out through injury and was replaced by Neal Sinclair in the only changes to the side that won at Rothes at the weekend.
The visitors went close to opening the scoring only a couple of minutes into this pulsating derby encounter when former Nairn striker Gary Ross saw his low shot flash past Michael Rae's left hand upright.
Nairn then gave Clach a scare when forward Ian Brooks powered a header goalwards from an inswinging Gary Farquhar free kick on the left only to see it go just past Ridgers left hand post.
It was second time lucky for County as they broke the deadlock in a similar set of circumstances. Again it was Gary Farquhar with the free kick, this time from the right, and again it was Brooks who was allowed space in the box to meet the outswinging ball to power a header past the helpless Ridgers.
Clach then got themselves back on level terms though, ten minutes before the interval. Gary Ross found the ball at his feet after a scramble in the County box before turning and firing a low shot under Rae into the bottom right hand corner from 10 yards.
Clach then piled pressure on the County defence in the opening minutes of the second half and came close to getting themselves in front for the first time in the match on several occasions. Firstly, Gary Ross met a Colin Mitchell free kick from the left with a header at the back post but failed to hit the target as he put his effort past Rae's left hand post after 47 minutes.
Nairn then somehow managed to keep the scores level with some last gasp defending of the highest order on 51 minutes. David Ross smashed a shot goalwards from the right edge of the penalty area that crashed off of the underside of Michael Rae's crossbar before coming off his inside right hand post and breaking for Gary Ross who must've thought he had scored his second of the night only to see Rae scramble across his goal-line and kick the ball to safety.
Gary Ross then found the ball breaking to him in the box and, with plenty of time on his hands, he tried to go round Michael Rae instead of shooting only to be thwarted by on-form Nairn shotstopper.
Nairn then got their noses in front for the second time in the game with 20 minutes left for play. Scott Kellacher was bundled over in the box by Clach's Colin Mitchell but amazingly the referee waved play on only to see the linesman's flag in the air. Upon consultation with his assistant, the man in the middle eventually awarded the spot-kick allowing Gary Farquhar to step up and smash the ball into the top corner.
Kellacher then had a shot from the edge of the box for Nairn deflected just over the bar as Nairn were lifted by this second goal and went in search of the killer third.
Clach then piled men forward and seemed to be playing four up front as they desperately tried to gain something from the match but were kept out by Nairn's resolute and stout defending.
Frustration was starting to get the better of the visitors and somehow sub Neil McCuish escaped any sort of punishment at all, never mind a sending off, when he disgracefully kicked County's Neal Sinclair after the Nairn man had passed the ball right in front of the farside linesman. Sinclair eventually had to be replaced and must be doubtful for Saturday's cup tie at home to Forres.
The tension was becoming unbearable amongst the home supporters as the visitors were throwing everything in their locker at the County defence which stood firm.
Clach's tactics of piling men forward backfired as County added a third to make the points safe when a Gary Farquhar through ball sprung the offside trap and sent Willie Barron through on goal and the County speed merchant hammered the ball under Ridgers as Station Park erupted for the third time.
Indeed, it may even have been four as substitute Steve Sanderson almost got his name on the scoresheet. A corner from the right broke to him on the edge of the box and his volleyed effort flew just past Ridgers left hand post.
The Clach keeper then punted the resulting goal kick high into the air signalling the end of the game as the referee blew his whistle sending both Nairn fans and players into raptures.
Nairn must now build on this brilliant result this Saturday when they host Forres at Station Park on cup duty. Despite this win being massive, it came in the League which County are unlikely to gain any positions in and therefore this Saturday's match must be a priority.
|Michael Rae (GK)||-||25||-||53||-|
|Steve Sanderson (sub)||22||19||1||47||20|
|Robbie Duncanson (sub)||19||18||3||20||3|
No league table has been added for this season.