1 - 2
|Kevin Collins (2)||
Willie Barron (32)
David MacRae (pen.) (75)
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Mark Hamilton for Kevin Collins (78)
Steven Sim for Chris Grant (89)
Scott Nicholl for Johnny Seaton (12)
Gary Farquhar for John MacAskill (75)
After suffering back-to-back defeats in recent weeks, it was crucial that Les Fridge's men collected three points from this midweek trip to bottom of the table Rothes but the MacKessack Park side pushed Nairn all the way for their victory.
County made two changes from the side that played on Saturday at Deveronvale as Gary Farquhar was dropped to the bench and Brian Macleod missed out due to work commitments but taking their places were Martin Sanderson and the returning Neal Sinclair. Colin Macleod was back amongst the substitutes after being on holiday.
Nairn made the worst start imaginable though as they went behind inside the first two minutes. Colin Smith launched a high free-kick into the box from just inside his own half and Kevin Collins sneaked in behind Lewis MacKinnon to control the ball and slam past County keeper Jim Calder.
Less than 60 seconds later the same move almost paid dividends again for the home side as Smith's free-kick took a wicked bounce up off of the dodgy MacKessack Park surface forcing Calder to drop the ball but Neal Sinclair was in the right place at the right time to clear the loose ball from the goal-line.
The visitors created their first chance after 16 minutes as Martin Sanderson played a weighted pass forward for Iain Brooks to run onto as the home defence appealed for offside but home keeper Darren Strong stood up well to block the Nairn midfielder's low drive.
Three minutes later County were back on the attack as this time it was Steven Edwards with the ball forward that Brooks controlled in his stride before holding off his marker but Strong was equal to the County man's 15-yard half-volley.
Michael Ord then conjured up the home side's next chance as he cut in from the left onto his right foot before firing in a dipping shot that Calder held at the second attempt in the 23rd minute.
Jamie Miller raced down the right for the home side two minutes later and after passing Martin Sanderson, he pulled the ball back to Ord on the edge of the box but the little striker's first time effort sailed high into the night sky.
Nairn restored parity two minutes after the half-hour mark as Willie Barron sprung the hosts' offside trap to latch onto Steven Edwards' pass before slotting the ball under the keeper and into the corner of the net. But the ball went through the net and ended up on the other side of the post causing mass confusion amongst both sets of supporters as the home bench and players remonstrated the decision to no avail.
Barron could quite easily have doubled his tally for the evening after he received a great reverse pass from Iain Brooks but the County goalscorer lifted the ball over the head of Strong and just past the post.
After a niggling start to the second forty-five, County created the first chance of the half after 58 minutes when Willie Barron burst down the right wing before pulling the ball all the way to Scott Kellacher upon hitting the bye-line but the former Celtic man, restored to the attack for this match, saw his low shot from the edge of the box palmed wide for a corner kick.
Iain MacRae went close for the home side seven minutes later when he skipped past Lewis MacKinnon but could only send his low shot wide of the post.
Then in 72 minutes, Kellacher flicked the ball on for David MacRae but he saw the on-form Strong push away his powerful shot from 15-yards.
Whoever got the next goal in this match would be odds on to get the victory and when the crucial third goal arrived it went the way of Nairn with 15 minutes left. David MacRae was pushed in the back when contesting a high ball in the box resulting in a penalty being awarded. The ex-Caley Thistle man took on the responsibility himself to net his 17th goal of the season making him the club's joint top scorer this season along with Scott Kellacher.
MacRae was then gifted the opportunity to become the outright top scorer after Kellacher was scythed down in the box by the home side's Alan Stephen but Darren Strong was equal to the County midfielder's effort from 12-yards.
County were almost left to rue this missed chance when, with two minutes left, Chris Grant beat Steven Edwrads down the left before seeing no takers for his cross goal pass apart from the thankful Martin Sanderson, who hacked the ball away to safety.
Nairn again were denied by Strong in the Rothes goal as Barron collected the ball in his own half on the left before driving forward and slipping in Scott Kellacher but his powerful effort was beaten out by the ex-Wick Academy shot stopper.
A crucial win for County and one that sets them up nicely for Saturday's final home League game of the season against Keith where Les Fridge will be looking fo this side to end their batch of home games for the year on a high note.
|Jim Calder (GK)||44||23||-||23||-|
|Scott Nicholl (sub)||21||11||-||11||-|
|Gary Farquhar (sub)||-||22||1||95||31|
No league table has been added for this season.