2 - 0
2 - 0
Neal Sinclair (26)
David MacRae (55)
Gary Farquhar for Scott Kellacher (76)
Brian Macleod for Scott Nicholl (88)
Colin MacLeod for Willie Barron (89)
Stuart Walker for Kerr Gibson (60)
Graham Lonie for Kenny Tawse (66)
Sean McKinstry for Jamie Lennox (76)
John MacAskill (75)
Nairn County earned a hard-fought and well-deserved three points after a close encounter with Keith at Station Park to set the side up perfectly going into next week's big cup clash at Huntly.
Les Fridge made one enforced change to the side that defeated Rothes in midweek as Scott Nicholl took the place of the injured Johnny Seaton in the starting XI with the former's place on the bench being occupied by the returning Brian Macleod.
Nairn almost opened the scoring after only two minutes as Willie Barron nipped in to intercept a back pass from keith defender Kenny Mackenzie to his goalkeeper Andrew Shearer but the Nairn forward miscued his shot past the post.
The home side did get in front though after 26 minutes as Neal Sinclair swung in a corner from the right that caused a mix-up between Shearer and Mackenzie in the 6-yard area as the pair of them left the ball for each other resulting in it ending up in the back of the net without receiving a touch from anyone.
Towering goalkeeper Shearer went some way to making amends two minutes later though as he got down well to meet a low Scott Kellacher drive from the edge of the box and palm it away to safety.
It was 10 minutes before the interval when Keith eventually managed a shot on target as Dean Donaldson's shot deflected into the air before being gathered by the untroubled Jim Calder.
Keith were looking to spring into life early in the second half and created two chances early on when firstly Wayne Mackay fired a powerful and low shot from 20-yards on the left that Calder did well to smother on 47 minutes before the County shotstopper was again called into action two minutes later to save from Darren Still's shot from a tight angle on the right.
Nairn then somehow remained only one goal to the good when a Scott Nicholl free-kick into the box after 53 minutes found it's way to Iain Brooks and he stabbed his shot wide from all of two yards out after the ball got caught between his feet.
Scott Kellacher then teed up the on-running John MacAskill two minutes later but the County midfielder's 20-yard effort was defelcted over for a corner. WIllie Barron swung in the resulting flag-kick from the left that the Keith defence managed to clear but only as far sa the awaiting David MacRae who perfectly struck a first time effort from 22-yards that crashed into the top right hand corner leaving Shearer rooted to the spot.
Scott Kellacher then did well to pick out the run of Willie Barron two minutes before the hour mark but he saw his shot parred by Shearer.
On 67 minutes Keith almost halved the deficit as Johnathon Watt's cross from the right was met by a header from Derek Nicol but the former Highland League Player of the Year could only direct his effort straight into the welcoming arms of Jim Calder.
County were then reduced to ten-men with 15 minutes still to play as John MacAskill was ordered off after receiving a second yellow card, a decision thought to be harsh by the home support after the County midfielder appeared to win the ball in the challenge.
Wayne Mackay then tried his luck with a left foot shot from 25-yards after driving forward three minutes later but Calder matched the effort diving low to his left to make the save.
MacRae again went close for County in similar circumstances to how he claimed his goal. This time the ball was played out to him directly from the corner and his sweetly struck shot from 22-yards whistled inches past the right hand post.
Two minutes from time the hosts created another opening as goalscorer MacRae burst free down the left before picking out Gary Farquhar in the centre. His neat flick was collected by Iain Brooks who saw his powerful shot beaten out by Shearer only as far as Willie Barron who volleyed the follow up across goal and wide of the post.
A great win for County as Les Fridge prepares his side for next weekend's trip to Huntly which is set to yield more changes to the line-up as the gaffer is likely to be without the services of the suspended Scott Kellacher and John MacAskill.
|Jim Calder (GK)||44||24||-||24||-|
|Brian Macleod (sub)||23||23||-||55||5|
|Colin MacLeod (sub)||30||22||-||78||-|
|Gary Farquhar (sub)||-||23||1||96||31|
No league table has been added for this season.