2 - 1
Kenny Gilbert (40)
Steve Dolan (83)
Iain Brooks (29)
|Grant Noble for Paul Urquhart (76)||
Tony Low for Brian Macleod (57)
Scott Kellacher for Martin MacDonald (76)
David MacRae (49)
An 83rd minute strike saw Deveronvale edge out Nairn County at Princess Royal Park as the home side took a massive stride towards the championship.
County boss Les Fridge made two changes to his line-up as Steven Sanderson was restored to the front line and Steven Edwards played his first match since October, which was against Deveronvale at Station Park, at the expense of Johnny Seaton and Scott Nicholl who dropped down to the bench.
Nairn made the brighter start and repeated the feat of last year's away clash with Deveronvale as they broke the deadlock in the 29th minute through an Iain Brooks header. Kenny Gilbert got the home side back on level terms five minutes before the break though and then Steve Dolan slotted home the rebound from a Mike McKenzie shot to leave Nairn empty handed.
County came flying out of the blocks and created several chances in the opening minutes of the game. In the third minute, Willie Barron surged forward down the right as Nairn counter-attacked and laid the ball into the path of Iain Brooks but he sent his 20-yard flashing over the crossbar.
Three minutes later, Nairn again came close to opening the scoring as Steven Edwards deep cross from the right was headed goalwards by Martin MacDonald but he could only direct his effort straight at the home side's keeper James Blanchard.
The visitors were a matter of inches away from going in front in the 10th minute. A Barron corner from the left broke to the feet of Martin Sanderson and he smacked a shot off the underside of the Vale crossbar to be denied by the woodwork for the second week running.
Deveronvale's first real chance came in the 13th minute. A slack David MacRae header was collected by Mark Chisholm who proceeded to drive forward and fire in a low shot that was held by Nairn goalkeeper John Campbell.
A minute later, the home side went close again as Jamie Watt stepped inside Steven Edwards but his low shot from the edge of the box whistle past the post.
A tremendous double save from goalkeeper Blanchard kept the scores level in the 27th minute. Willie Barron collected a poor pass from Ross McWilliam and drove towards goal before drilling a 20-yard shot goalwards. The former Aberdeen goalkeeper did well to beat away the Nairn wideman's effort and did even better to react and tip the follow up away for a corner.
County were not to be denied though and opened the scoring two minutes later. Barron flighted in a corner from the right that was headed clear by the Vale defence but only as far as Nairn midfielder Wayne Mackintosh. He played the ball back out to Barron who then delivered an accurate cross to the back post where Iain Brooks was on hand to power a header back across goal and into the corner of the net.
The home side almost drew themselves level after 37 minutes. McKenzie teed up the on-running Terry Kidd but his low shot was deflected just past the post.
Vale did get themselves back on terms three minutes later though. McKenzie was again at the heart of things as he played the ball into the path of Kenny Gilbert who clipped a shot over the head of Campbell and into the net from the right edge of the penalty area.
The home side created the first chance of the second 45 as Watt broke free down the right and played the ball into the path of McWilliam but his shot from the edge of the box was comfortably held by Campbell in the 64th minute.
Four minutes later, County almost re-established their lead as Barron's cross from the right was headed narrowly over the crossbar by MacDonald.
Nairn breathed a sigh of relief in the 72nd minute as Watt fired a low ball across the face of goal but found no takers as Brian Macleod hacked it away to safety.
The visitors almost got themselves back in front five minutes later. Scott Kellacher sent fellow substitute Tony Low harring down the left wing and the former Clach winger pulled the ball back to the ex-Celtic man but his effort was cleared from the goal-line by the well-positioned Bryan Dlugonski.
Deveronvale snatched all three points in the 83rd minute. Ross McWilliam got away from Low down the right but saw his shot parried by Campbell. The loose ball landed at the feet of McKenzie and he too was denied by the County goalkeeper but it was third time lucky for the League leaders as Steve Dolan was on hand to slot home the rebound at the back post.
Disappointment in the end for Nairn but manager Les Fridge will be encouraged by the performance and will be looking for a similar showing at home to Fraserburgh next week with hopefully a different outcome.
|John Campbell (GK)||26||9||-||9||-|
|Tony Low (sub)||22||25||4||25||4|
|Scott Kellacher (sub)||25||24||1||117||50|
No league table has been added for this season.