3 - 0
Richie Taylor (30)
Russell Guild (55)
Jerry O'Driscoll (63)
Marco de Barros
Martin Stewart for Richie Taylor (36)
Levi Stephen for Simon Scott (78)
Graham Green for Jerry O'Driscoll (79)
Scott Nicholl for Martin Sanderson (46)
Jason Robertson for Scott Kellacher (72)
Morag Pirie (Referee)
Les Fridge took his Nairn County side to Christie Park looking to put another dent in the hopes of a title contender after victories over Fraserburgh and Inverurie Locos earlier in the season but Huntly had other ideas as they returned to the top of the Highland League table.
The gaffer made one change to the starting line-up that won at Lossiemouth as the returning Andrew Allan started the match in favour of Gary Farquhar who dropped down to the bench. Brian Macleod missed out through work commitments and his place amongst the substitutes was occupied by Scott Nicholl.
The home side created the first chance of the evening in the fifth minute as Russell Guild played Jerry O'Driscoll through on goal and he drove forward before unleashing a low shot that Jim Calder did well to hold on to.
Willie Barron went on the attack for Nairn through the middle beating two men before trying to tee up Lewis MacKinnon, playing as a striker, instead of shooting himself but the final ball was poor and went out for a goal-kick.
Huntly were then gifted a golden opportunity to open the scoring after 17 minutes. Guild again was the architect as his ball into the box was controlled by Richie Taylor but he received a nudge in the back by Martin Sanderson before hitting the deck resulting in referee Morag Pirie pointing to the spot. Justice was done though as Calder saved low to his right to deny Ross Campbell from 12-yards.
County's best chance of the half came after 19 minutes as David MacRae crossed from the left before seeing Lewis MacKinnon flick the ball on to Scott Kellacher at the back post. The ex-Celtic front man then cut inside his marker on to his left foot before drilling a low shot from 15-yards that was bound for the bottom corner before home keeper Richard Bowman just managed to get a hand on it.
Jerry O'Driscoll then found the by-line out on the left for the hosts in the 25th minute before cutting the ball back to Gordon Farmer in the box but he sclaffed his effort across goal and wide of the post.
The opening goal arrived five minutes later though as Huntly took a half-hour lead. Farmer picked out the unmarked Taylor with a low ball in from the left and after taking a touch to compose himself, the Highland League Select Squad man smashed the ball home past the helpless Calder from close range.
Kellacher then worked space for himself and hammered a low shot across goal that Bowman saw later but still managed to gather down to his right in 40 minutes.
The home side were only inches away from making it two barely 60 seconds later as substitute Martin Stewart met a corner from the right with towering header that was headed from the goal-line by David MacRae.
Less than a minute after the restart, Calder was caught in no mans land and as he raced back towards his goal-line, the ball broke on the volley for Gordon Farmer but the former Deveronvale wideman's effort went high over the crossbar.
But a deadly counter attacking move saw Huntly add a second in the 55th minute. Farmer collected the ball on the left and burst passed Andrew Allan down the wing before sending a low cross across goal for Russell Guild to slide into the net at the back post.
Three minutes later Guild went in search of his second goal as he hit a loose ball first time but Calder did well to hold the effort with the Huntly strikers ready to pounce on any rebounds.
County really should have had a penalty of their own a minute short of the hour mark as John MacAskill smashed a shot goalwards from 25-yards that struck the arm of Huntly defender Scott Anderson on its way to goal but the referee waved away the Nairn appeals. The ball then broke to half time substitute Scott Nicholl on the right and the ex-Clach full-back's deep cross found Willie Barron at the back post but his left-footed effort sailed over the crossbar.
Farmer then skipped past Nicholl on the left in the 63rd minute before seeing his low shot parried by Calder. The ball then bobbled up to Jerry O'Driscoll who found the top-right hand corner with a neat volley to put the hosts three in front.
Calder again came racing from his goal-line late on and after dribbling past one striker, he slipped when attempting to go past another and relinquished possession some 25-yards from goal but County managed to get sufficient numbers back to thwart the danger.
A spirited performance by Nairn despite defeat and the side can go into the final two matches of the season at Cove and Wick knowing that they have nothing to fear if they show the same sort of commitment as was displayed this evening.
|Jim Calder (GK)||44||27||-||27||-|
|Scott Nicholl (sub)||21||14||-||14||-|
|Jason Robertson (sub)||17||3||-||3||-|
No league table has been added for this season.