4 - 2
North of Scotland Cup (Mini League)
Stephen Maclean (10)
Charlie Brown (14)
Charlie Brown (45)
Charlie Brown (90)
Gary Farquhar (pen.) (50)
Scott Kellacher (75)
Michael A Rae
|Neil Whyte for Shawn Scott (81)||
Robbie Duncanson for Brian Macleod (74)
Stuart Logan (Referee)
Nairn go down by four goals to two in their opening match in this season's North of Scotland Cup despite a spirited second half comeback that almost saw the visitors nick a point towards the end before Charlie Brown rounded off his hat-trick to put the result beyond doubt. Caretaker Manager Martin Bell made two changes from the side that drew at Rothes on Saturday, one of which was enforced as Glenn Main dropped out through injury to be replaced by the returning Johnny Seaton while Michael Rae was given the night off between the sticks and was replaced by his namesake who was making his return to Mosset Park after leaving Forres to sign for County during pre-season.
The hosts were inches away from taking the lead after only seven minutes when Dod Simmers rose above the Nairn defence to meet a corner from the left but his header came crashing back off of Rae's left hand upright.
Nairn were lifted by this and less than a minute later were close to taking the lead themselves. Steve Sanderson attempted an overhead kick from the edge of the box that sailed just over the bar.
Nairn's ascendancy in the match was increasing by this stage and again they threatened the Forres goal as Brian Macleod's cross from the right was met by the head of Neal Sinclair but the hosts keeper Ali Mackenzie was equal to it.
But Nairn hadn't learned their lesson from the early warning from a corner as Forres went one better with their next attempt. Another corner from the left was met this time by Stephen Maclean's head as he guided the ball past Michael A. Rae and into the net.
A minute later though and the visitors had a great chance to get back on level terms straight away. Steve Sanderson laid the ball off perfectly for Scott Kellacher whose drive wasn't too far past the post.
But four minutes later and the hosts doubled their advantage as the game swung from end to end. A long ball fired up the pitch by the Forres keeper caught the Nairn defence napping as Charlie Brown got in behind Steven Edwards, who allowed the ball to bounce before mis-judging it's flight, and slot home past his former team-mate Rae.
A well worked throw-in taken by Garry Ewing almost resulted in Nairn grabbing a goal back as Scott Kellacher's drilling shot was well held by Forres keeper Mackenzie on 22 minutes.
Four minutes later Willie Barron went close for Nairn as County probed for a goal but his curling effort from the edge of the box was saved.
The visitors were dealt a killer blow though as Forres added another right on the stroke of half time just as Nairn were coming more into the game. Charlie Brown again out-thought the Nairn defence to nip in behind them to latch onto a through ball before coolly guiding it into the net.
Nairn came out for the second half with renewed fight as they attempted to claim at least a consolation goal. Steve Sanderson went close two minutes after the restart but his overhead kick from Brian Macleod's cross on the right was just a few inches too high.
The visitors did grab somewhat of a lifeline though on 50 minutes when referee Stuart Logan awarded a penalty for a handball in the Forres box. Gary Farquhar stepped up and made no mistake to score his first spot-kick since putting one wide in the home draw with Keith back in November.
Four minutes later and County passed up a golden opportunity to get right back into the reckoning. WIllie Barron made one of his patented mazy runs down the right before sending in a high quality cross that was met by Steve Sanderson in the box but his header needed just a little bit more conviction and it would've ended up in the net instead of glancing just past the post.
With 15 minutes remaining, hope of gaining a point in this match increased for Nairn as they snatched another goal back. Scott Kellacher screwed a shot goalwards from the edge of the box and it squeezed it's way through before hitting the foot of the post and trickling over the line with Steve Sanderson following in for good measure.
This goal injected some life into the visitors and they looked to have grabbed a deserved equalizer when WIllie Barron played the ball perfectly into the stride of sub Robbie Duncanson but he somewhat snatched at his left footed shot instead of keeping his cool and sweeping the ball home allowing Mackenzie to gather.
Unfortunately for Nairn the home side rounded things off with a fourth goal. County were again caught out at the back with a long ball as Charlie Brown nicked in to complete his hat-trick and round off what had been an entertaining match.
Nairn will now have to beat Caley at home next week and hope the Inverness side defeat Forres the following week to qualify from this group.
|Michael A Rae (GK)||-||6||-||6||-|
|Robbie Duncanson (sub)||19||15||3||17||3|
No league table has been added for this season.