2 - 2
Michael Brown (57)
Barrie Stephen (58)
David MacRae (pen.) (45)
Gary Farquhar (84)
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Jonathan Watt for Stuart Walker (64)
Graham Lonie for Michael Brown (78)
Kerry Gibson for Dean Donaldson (85)
Gary Farquhar for Steve Sanderson (23)
Jason Robertson for Brian Macleod (82)
Gavin Chisholm for Johnny Seaton (89)
An under strength County side take a hard-fought and well-deserved point from Kynoch Park as they battle back from 2-1 down to grab an equaliser in the dying minutes.
Injury robbed manager Les Fridge of the services of Neal Sinclair and Lewis MacKinnon while Mark Smith, Steven Edwards and Peter Lynch were unavailable due to work commitments. Scott Kellacher was serving a suspension after his sending off last week and Iain Brooks remains on holiday. This meant that youth players Gordon Haines and Jason Robertson were drafted into the squad while trialist Scott Nicholl was given another chance to impress.
Keith went in search of an early goal as they were out to repeat their 7-0 mauling of Nairn at Kynoch Park last season as Derek Nicol was played through on goal but saw his low shot blocked by Jim Calder in the first minute of play.
Two minutes later, the Maroons were back on the attack as a low cross in from the right wing was diverted goalwards by Darren Still who saw his effort held by County keeper Calder.
In the fifth minute the home side again went close as Nicol's low shot across goal from the right edge of the box trickled past the post.
County then conjured up their first attack of the afternoon after 13 minutes when Garry Ewing played a great defence splitting pass into the stride of Steve Sanderson but the Nairn striker was denied by Keith keeper Shearer at his near post.
Nine minutes later the hosts again went close to breaking the deadlock as Barrie Stephen's powerful, low drive was well held by Calder.
Willie Barron then tested Shearer but the Scotland Semi-Pro goalkeeper blocked the Nairn winger's shot.
County were then dealt a blow as Steve Sanderson had to come off injured after being on the receiving end of a horrendous tackle, to be replaced by Gary Farquhar.
Keith were still piling on the pressure in search of a breakthrough as Still fired over the crossbar from the edge of the area three minutes after the half-hour.
But it was County who grabbed the lead on the stroke of half-time after a great piece of skill in the box by Johnny Seaton fooled Keith defender Dod Simmers who brought the Nairn midfielder tumbling to the deck resulting in referee Gary Cheyne pointing to the spot. David MacRae stepped up to calmly stroke his second spot-kick in as many weeks into the bottom corner.
Keith came out all guns blazing for the second half in search of an equaliser to get themselves back in the reckoning and came close when a cross in from the left found Nicol with a free header but to the relief of the Nairn defence he put his effort past the post two minutes after the restart.
A minute later only a superb stop by Calder kept Nairn in front as Stephen was played through one-on-one with the ex-Caley Thistle shotstopper only to be denied by a great stop.
Then in the 49th minute County registered their first chance on goal of the second half as Gary Farquhar bent a free-kick over the wall before it was saved by Shearer.
Kenny McKenzie was then given the space to win a free header in the box at a corner and saw his effort hacked from the goal-line by County's Garry Ewing.
The home side must have been wondering what they had to do to get level when, in the 52nd minute, a Stephen cross in from the left was blasted goalwards by Dean Donaldson only for Calder to be in the right place at the right time to make the crucial block.
But the Maroons finally drew level after 57 minutes when Derek Nicol won a flick on at the edge of the box that played in Michael Brown for him to blast the ball into the net from 10-yards out leaving Calder helpless.
And after waiting so long for one goal, the home side had two in as many minutes as they went in front in the 58th as Barrie Stephen's low shot from the edge of the box was deflected sending Calder the wrong way to put the home side in front for the first time in the game.
Half chances fell the way of both sides in the minutes that followed and the longer the game went on the more Keith were content to see things out while the more Nairn were eager to draw level.
And they did get an equaliser with six minutes left on the clock after finishing off the best move of the game. Garry Ewing played the ball forward to debutant Jason Robertson who picked out David MacRae inside him. The on-loan Caley Thistle midfielder then teed up Johnny Seaton who sent a shot crashing off of the crossbar before Willie Barron collected the rebound out on the left and delivered a cross that was bundled over the line by Gary Farquhar at the back post to restore parity.
Indeed, Nairn could have snatched all three points at the death as MacRae collected a short corner before seeing his shot that was bound for the bottom corner deflected away by the Keith defence.
A hard-fought point for County as they grind out a draw against a Keith side who were probably better than the Deveronvale team that defeated Nairn last week. County now look forward to the mouth-watering trio of derby fixtures that awaits them in the next three weeks starting at Clach's Grant Street Park next Saturday.
|Jim Calder (GK)||44||11||-||11||-|
|Gary Farquhar (sub)||-||11||1||84||31|
|Gavin Chisholm (sub)||19||1||-||1||-|
|Jason Robertson (sub)||17||1||-||1||-|
No league table has been added for this season.