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David MacRae (90)
Brian Macleod for Gary Farquhar (64)
Les Fridge's Nairn County side ground out an important three points away at Lossiemouth in a match played in difficult conditions thanks to a late winner from key midfielder David MacRae. The visitors huffed and puffed throughout the 90 minutes almost as much as the swirling wind that engulfed Grant Park for the majority of the afternoon. Nairn kept faith though in their tactics and style of play and this eventually paid dividends of the three points that accompany victory.
The gaffer made two changes to his side from last week's cup tie at Huntly as Scott Nicholl and Brian Macleod were replaced in the starting line-up by the returning Scott Kellacher and John MacAskill. Fridge also had one eye on next season going into this match and decided to stick with several youth team players on the bench as he had done last week.
Nairn went clsoe after only two minutes of play as Iain Brooks found space on the left to deliver a cross that Gary Farquhar met with a low first time volley but this was deflected over the crossbar for the first corner kick of the proceedings.
Five minutes later the home side had their first foray into the the final third as Martin McMullan held off Lewis McKinnon and fired in a low shot that was well parried away by Nairn custodian Jim Calder.
A Brooks cross from the right in the 10h minute was cleared only as far as the unmarked Scott Kellacher and he smashed a volley goalwards from the edge of the box that former Nairn goalie Steven Dunn did well to palm away.
Lewis MacKinnon then headed Gary Farquhar's 24th minute corner down to Martin Sanderson who met it on the half-volley only to miscue his shot over the crossbar.
The visiting support thought their side had broken the deadlock six minutes before the break when a Steven Edwards ball out of defence was controlled well by David MacRae. He then shrugged off the attentions of former Nairn skipper David Macdonald before lobbing Dunn with a delicate chip that landed on the wrong side of the right hand post by a matter of inches.
Five minutes after the restart, County were again only inches away from edging in front when Willie barron hit the by-line down the right before sending in a cross that was met by the head of Brooks and, with Dunn beaten, his effort was headed from the goal-line by the well placed Shaun Noble.
Then in the 55th minute, Jim Calder came racing from his goal-line to clear a through bsll but the ball bobbled on the turf, not for the first time in the afternoon, and his kick went straight to substitute Daniel Forde who lobbed the ball goalwards but just when it looked as if the hosts were set to go in front, Lewis MacKinnon managed to get his body in the way to preserve Nairn's clean sheet.
In the 67th minute, one of the hosts' trialists turned Martin Sanderson and drove towards before unleashing a low shot from the edge of the box that Calder palmed around his left hand post.
From the resulting corner, Steven Ellis managed to stab the ball goalwards after a goalmouth melee, that Calder appeared to have covered before it deflected off of John MacAskill only a couple of yards from goal. But the ex-Caley Thistle shotstopper managed to recovered sufficiently to make a save on the goal-line.
Nairn continued to probe the hosts' goal but were continually being frustrated by the resolute Lossiemouth defence until the visitors finally snatched in a winner in the 90th minute. Lewis MacKinnon, thrown up front in a bid to beef up the attack, drove forward from the halfway line as Nairn counter attacked, but his cross from the left was too heavy and went all the way through to Willie Barron out on the right. He flighted the ball back into the box and this was met by a rasping right foot effort from MacKinnon that Dunn coudld only palm up into the air for the awaiting David MacRae to head into the net to the relief of the visitors.
It was by no means pretty by Nairn and for the majority of the afternoon it was unaffective as well as the final delivery of the visitors was missing, partly due to the heavy wind and poor state of the bobbly Grant Park surface. But Les Fridge can be happy that his side have bounced back from last week's cup defeat to make it three League wins on the trot as they look to go about extracting revenge on Huntly for that defeat last week on Wednesday evening.
|Jim Calder (GK)||44||26||-||26||-|
|Brian Macleod (sub)||23||25||-||57||5|
No league table has been added for this season.