3 - 1
3 - 1
David MacRae (54)
David MacRae (pen.) (55)
David MacRae (90)
|Steven Edwards (o.g.) (83)|
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Gavin Wemyss for Mark Cowie (58)
Jason McDonald for Kevin Norris (87)
Nairn County got 2005 off to a flier as they defeated top of the table side Fraserburgh at Station Park thanks to a superb hat-trick from David MacRae to round off an awesome performance from the on-loan midfielder.
Manager Les Fridge had to do without a whole host of first-team regulars as Steve Sanderson, Wayne Mackintosh and Lewis MacKinnon remained on the injury list, Mark Smith and Brian Macleod were ruled out through work commitments and Garry Ewing and Gavin Chisholm were both on holiday. On a more positive note though, Iain Brooks returned to the side from suspension while Neal Sinclair was fit enough to take a place amongst the substitutes after a lengthy injury lay off.
Nairn made the brighter start of the two sides and went close after seven minutes as Willie Barron, keen to build on his hat-trick in County's previous match, surged down the left wing before delivering a measured cross to the head of Iain Brooks but the returning forward's effort went wide of the post.
James Geddes then tested Calder in the 13th minute as he unleashed a powerful shot from 25-yards that swerved through the air but the County keeper was not to be deceived as he palmed it away to safety.
Three minutes later and again the visitors went close as Steven Main got his head on the end of a cross in from the right but somehow he sent his effort over the crossbar from close range to the relief of the home support.
Iain Brooks then played a great ball into the stride of the accelerating Willie Barron, who timed his run to perfection but saw his shot from the angle after driving forward whistle past the post.
The home side really should have broken the deadlock three minutes after the half hour as MacRae was played through on-goal before chipping the advancing keeper and seeing his effort trickle agonisingly past the post.
The Broch again threatened the County goal four minutes later but Michael Stephen, who has already scored seven goals against Nairn this season, screwed his low shot across goal and past the post.
Fraserburgh's Russel McBride really should have given his side a half-time lead when he was played through on goal eight minutes before the break but opted to attempt to chip Calder from 15-yards and only succeeded in playing the ball into the welcoming arms of the veteran custodian.
Five minutes after the restart, Nairn were a whisker away from opening the scoring as Gary Farquhar flighted in an inch-perfect free-kick from the right that Johnny Seaton stooped to head goalwards only to see his effort bounce off the top of the crossbar before going out for a goal-kick.
The visitors again rode their luck as County were left to rue their luck in front of goal when Willie Barron played in David MacRae who rounded the opposition keeper before seeing his shot hacked from the goal-line by a covering defender.
But this only delayed the opening goal by four minutes as Nairn finally made their pressure pay. John MacAskill surged forward down the right wing before laying the ball back to Iain Brooks. He played a deep cross into the box that was headed down at the back post by Johnny Seaton to the onrushing David MacRae for the on-form midfielder to hammer home his 10th goal of the season.
Only a minute later and County grabbed a second as MacRae was felled in the box by Scott Mackie giving the referee no choice but to award a penalty that the on-loan midfielder stroked home himself.
The Broch then started to pile bodies forward in an attempt to get back in the game and had a shot cleared from the line themselves 15 minutes from time as Scott Kellacher was in the right place at the right time to deny Ian Murray.
Derek Milne, scorer of a long-range volley at Station Park earlier in the season, attempted to repeat that feat as he saw a thunderbolt of a strike from 25-yards sail just over the bar in the 76th minute.
Jim Calder them made a tremendous save to preserve Nairn's two-goal advantage in the 82nd minute as Ryan Christie smashed the ball goalwards only for the County keeper to make an instinctive save.
But Fraserburgh did give themselves hope as they halved the deficit with seven minutes left. A low cross in from the left by substitute Gavin Wemyss was diverted past Calder and into the net by the unfortunate Steven Edwards.
The County defender nearly made amends for this own goal two minutes later when he connected with a Farquhar corner from the left only to see his powerful header scrambled from the goal-line.
David MacRae almost turned provider as he sent Willie Barron through on goal but the County forward opted to shoot early allowing visiting keeper Thompson to make an easy save.
Scott Kellacher probably should have sewn things up for the home side two minutes from the end when he burst forward but attempted to go round Thompson and was thwarted by the Broch keeper.
County did wrap up this great win with a third in injury time as David MacRae rounded off a polished performance by completing his hat-trick. He timed his run to perfection to latch onto a long ball forward by Iain Brooks before slamming home his third goal of the day from 18-yards.
A tremendous win for Nairn as Les Fridge's side show that they can be a match for any side in the League and a performance that can be built upon. This match also emphasised the importance of David MacRae to the side and hopefully he can be persuaded to remain at Station Park beyond his current loan deal, that runs out at the end of the month, until at least the end of the season
|Jim Calder (GK)||44||16||-||16||-|
No league table has been added for this season.