4 - 1
Scott Fraser (11)
Nicky Gordon (35)
Nicky Gordon (50)
Keith Robertson (72)
Gary Farquhar (68)
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Keith Robertson for Craig Cooper (57)
Gary Clark for Chris Steel (70)
Niall Mullen for Neil Cruickshank (78)
Wayne Mackintosh for Jason Robertson (61)
Andrew Allan (86)
After a turgid affair at Allan Park, Nairn County were defeated by four goals to one by Cove Rangers with their cause not helped by a mass of injuries and suspensions.
The gaffer handed 17-year-old Jason Robertson his first start in attack as he partnered Iain Brooks in attack while fellow yoiungsters Wayne Mackintosh, Aidan Park and Grant Fraser were named amongst the substitutes. Gary Farquhar and Scott Nicholl were restored to the starting line-up after being on the bench on Wednesday night while Brian Macleod returned after missing that match at Christie Park because of work commitments. Injury ruled out Scott Kellacher and work commitments prevented both Neal Sinclair and Willie Barron from travelling.
Nairn had the first sight of goal after eight minutes as Gary Farquhar swung in a corner from the right that Lewis MacKinnon met with a header only to see his effort bounce of the crossbar. The loose ball then broke to Iain Brooks but he sent his shot over the bar from close range.
Three minutes later the home side broke the deadlock as Craig Cooper delivered a low free-kick from the right that the unmarked Scott Fraser met with a glancing touch of his right boot to send the ball beyond Jim Calder and into the corner of the net.
Cove then doubled this lead 10 minutes before the break as Martin Johnston laid the ball off to Nicky Gordon before he turned and unleashed a powerful drive from 25-yards that sailed past Calder and into the net.
David MacRae almost found a way back into things for County in the 38th minute as he found space to turn and fire in a low shot from the edge of the box that home keeper Ross Buchanan got down well to hold to his left.
Five minutes before the break, Calder did well to hold a Martin Johnston snapshot and from his kick out Nairn created their best chance of the half. Iain Brooks won the flick on in the air that Jason Robertson ran onto perfectly but the young forward snatched at his shot and sent it flashing past the left hand post when through on goal.
It was Nairn again who created the first chance of the half after the restart when David MacRae managed to work himself some space 20-yards from goal to send a low shot goalwards but Buchanan was equal to the former Caley Thistle midfielder's effort.
Cove got their third goal of the day five minutes after the break as Nicky Gordon latched onto a long ball forward from his goalkeeper and evaded the attention of Nairn's Lewis MacKinnon before lifting the ball over the advancing Jim Calder and into the net.
Nairn almost snatched a lifeline a minute later though when home shotstopper Buchanan dropped a high ball under pressure from Brooks and the scraps fell to the feet of Brian Macleod but his shot lacked conviction and the well placed Bruce Morrison was able to clear from the goal-line.
Andrew Allan then drove forward from defence for the visitors after 53 minutes and picked out David MacRae. He then controlled the ball and struck a 20-yard shot that Buchanan blocked with his legs.
A neat ball forward from MacRae released Brian Macleod down the left and his low cross was sent behind for a corner by Morrison at the front post as the ex-Keith centre-back managed to get there just before the waiting Jason Robertson.
County did manage to grab a goal back in the 68th minute as Gary Farquhar drilled a low left-footed shot from the left edge of the box across Buchanan and into the net via the right hand post.
The impressive Wayne Mackintosh then found space for a shot some 25-yards from goal that flew just past the right hand upright.
But the home side re-opened their three goal lead in the 72nd minute when Jim Calder was dispossessed outside his penalty area by Nicky Gordon. He then delivered a pinpoint cross from the right and with the Nairn keeper in no mans land, substitute Keith Robertson was on hand to nod home at the back post.
A poor defensive clearance then presented Nairn skipper Iain Brooks with a chance five minutes from the end but he smashed his shot from the right into the side netting.
The visitors were reduced to ten-men in the 86th minute as Andrew Allan was ordered off following a last man tackle on Cove frontman Nicky Gordon.
|Jim Calder (GK)||44||28||-||28||-|
|Wayne Mackintosh (sub)||17||3||-||6||-|
No league table has been added for this season.