1 - 0
1 - 0
Willie Barron (1)
Michael A Rae
Glenn Main for Dave Macdonald (10)
Robbie Duncanson for Johnny Seaton (60)
|Alan Hercher for John Colquhoun (75)|
It was an injury stricken squad that Ronnie Sharp had to contend with in prepartation for this match and he was in no way aided by the strain picked up by Brian Macleod in the warm up for today's game. The County gaffer then had to select a side from the 14 first team squad members that he had remaining and there were three changes to the side that were defeated at Princess Royal Park. Out were holidaymakers Colin Macleod and Garry Ewing while Mo MacMillan missed out through injury. This trio was replaced by Paul McDonald, Steven Edwards and Ian Brooks, who was making his return after breaking his foot in October.
The County team served up some festive cheer for their supporters in the opening minute when Mark Holmes played a defence spliting pass into the stride of Willie Barron. The Nairn forward's pace ensured that there was no way back for the Brora defence as the local boy closed in on goal. The shot he unleashed was somewhat tame but visiting keeper Michael Gray managed to let it squeeze through his body as he gifted County a goal two days after Christmas.
There was then a significant break in the proceedings as Nairn skipper David Macdonald picked up a horrific injury. He dislocated his knee after a heavy challenge but the extent of the damage is not known at the current time. This is his second serious knee injury of the season and the Nairn fans will be hopeful of him making a return to playing as soon as possible.
He was replaced by youngster Glenn Main who acquitted himself extremely well and in no way looked out of his depth. He also managed to keep the shackles on veteran Billy Ferries which is no mean feat for a player of any age.
After a delay of twenty minutes while the ambulance arrived for Macdonald, the teams re-emerged and it took County only three minutes to come close to another goal. Scott Kellacher's free kick was deflected somewhat en route to goal wrong footing the visiting keeper but Gray managed to recover sufficiently to thwart the Nairn striker.
Billy Ferries then missed a golden opportunity to equalize for Brora and his miss must go down as a sitter. The ball broke to him only a matter of yards from goal and with Michael Rae sprawled on the turf the ex-Ross County man scooped his effort high over the crossbar.
Kellacher then struck the woodwork for Nairn, the first of two occasions that Brora's goal frame was rattled in six minutes. The Nairn striker weaved his way into the box and unleashed a shot from 10 yards that thundered off of the underside of Gray's crossbar before being cleared to safety.
Holmes then had a shot palmed away to safety by Gray at his bottom left hand corner after 35 minutes.
Less than 60 seconds later and again Holmes was denied. This time he struck the bar with a header only five yards from goal with the net gaping.
Scott Kellacher then showed the County fans what he is capable of as he beautifully controlled a Seaton cross from the right on his chest and then fired in a shot that was smothered by Gray with 38 minutes on the clock.
Nairn almost started the second forty five minutes as they did the first but this time Gray managed to keep Barron's effort out. The fans favourite galloped through on goal but on this occasion he took one touch too many allowing Gray to gather at his feet.
Steven Edwards then saw a shot from the edge of the box held by Gray two minutes after the interval.
A minute later and the visitors nearly got themselves back on level terms. Billy Ferries fired in what appeared to be a cross but the ball hurtled towards goal, ghosting over the head of Rae and bouncing off of the top of the crossbar before being cleared.
Ferries then attempted a repeat performance on the hour mark, this time from a more accute angle. Rae's blushes were saved by the crossbar for the second time in 12 minutes as Ferries' cross-come-shot again bounced off of the goal frame before being hacked away by the County defence.
Any hope of a Brora comeback were all but diminished with twenty minutes remaining as they were reduced to ten men. Scott Kellacher broke free but looked to have taken to heavy a touch. But this didn't prevent the Cattach's Neil Calder from chopping him to the deck before being sent for an early bath for the last man challenge.
But plucky Brora kept trying to rattle the Nairn cage and nearly restored parity with ten minutes to go. The on-loan Peter Lynch broke free from the County defence but Rae got a strong enough hand to his shot to keep the homesters in front.
Robbie Duncanson showed flashes of his potential when he cut in from the left, leaving Brora's Gary Campbell for dead, and unleashing a shot that was gathered by Gray.
The home side should have gift wrapped the points in the dying minutes. A cross from the right found it's way across to Neal Sinclair on the edge of the box but he seemed to panic somewhat and snatched at his shot allowing Gray a simple save.
Ian Brooks almost got himself a comeback goal but his towering header was turned behind by Gray at the expense of a corner.
Nairn will be pleased to get the three points in the bag despite the somewhat under par performance and will now look forward to next weeks trip to Cove with relative optimism.
|Michael Rae (GK)||-||14||-||42||-|
|Glenn Main (sub)||18||1||-||2||-|
|Robbie Duncanson (sub)||19||10||3||12||3|
No league table has been added for this season.