4 - 0
Scott Fraser (pen.) (46)
Gary Clark (66)
Keith Robertson (85)
Bryan Dlugonski (87)
Franny Moore for John Coutts (60)
Mark Cowie for Grant Noble (72)
Keith Robertson for Paul Urquhart (72)
Shaun Kerr for Martin Sanderson (70)
Ross Mackenzie for Andrea Coletto (80)
Marc MacDonald for Wayne Mackintosh (83)
|Gary Clark (40)||
Wayne Mackintosh (77)
Brian Braidwood (Referee)
Four second-half goals condemned Nairn County to defeat at Deveronvale in the Highland League. It was a result that was harsh on the visitors who matched their opponents throughout the 90 minutes and were hit with two late goals after pushing forward at two down.
County played with windy conditions for the opening 45 minutes and created their fair share of chances, the closest being Duncan Jones' free kick that rattled the crossbar. But the home side were set on their way to the three points when they were awarded a contentious penalty in the first few minutes of the second half that Scott Fraser converted. It was a goal that rocked Les Fridge's side and they found themselves six minutes after the hour mark. The manager pushed three players up front in an attempt to get back into the game but the Vale added two further goals to put an unfair slant on the score line.
Fridge was forced into two changes from Wednesday night's starting line up as Gregg Main and Brian Macleod missed out through illness and injury respectively. Glenn Main came in to play on the right while Andrea Coletto made his first start since returning to the club on the left of midfield. With Johnathon Holland unavailable, it meant that Marc MacDonald, Neil MacDonald and Ross Mackenzie found themselves among the substitutes.
It took Nairn only a minute to almost make their advantage of playing with the wind count. Duncan Jones stood over a 25-yard free kick and cracked a low shot goalwards that was held by Deveronvale goalkeeper James Blanchard.
The home side's first attack came in the 8th minute when captain Mark Chisholm ghosted into the box unmarked to meet a cross from the left and stabbed the ball goalwards. But County shotstopper dived to his right to palm the ball past the post.
Nairn were let off the hook five minutes later when they almost fell behind from their own corner kick. Vale broke up the park after Willie Barron's delivery was cleared and last man Coletto's attempted clearance could only find the feet of Grant Noble. With time on his hands, the Vale youngster opted to shoot early from 20 yards out on the right but he could only send his shot across Campbell and wide.
County were inches away from breaking the deadlock in the 34th minute. When they were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal just left of centre, there was only going to be one man who would step up to take it. Jones had already tested Blanchard once, netted from a set piece in midweek and was ever so close to doubling his tally for the week. He smashed the ball goalwards, over the Vale wall and dipping towards goal but it just would not dip enough to sneak into the top left corner and came flying back off the crossbar.
It was the closest the visitors came to scoring and it was the home side who nearly sneaked a goal just before the interval when Noble spun and shot goalwards from 10 yards but his effort was easily held by Campbell.
Deveronvale took only one second half minute to break the deadlock. Striker Michael Ewen got in behind Martin MacDonald and tumbled to the ground as he pushed past the defender as both raced towards a long through ball. Referee Brian Braidwood pointed to the spot despite no appeals from the home bench or fans and Scott Fraser stepped up to fire past Campbell, who dived the correct way.
Nairn found their feet again despite the set back and had their fair share of possession but could not come up with anything incisive in the final third. The closest they came to getting back on level terms was when Wayne Mackintosh found the feet of Glenn Main but he was crowded out by Vale defenders and could only send a tame, 10-yard shot straight at Blanchard.
The hosts doubled their lead in the 66th minute and it all came from Nairn giving the ball away in an attacking position. Forward Scott Graham was dispossessed wide on the Nairn left then Paul Munro's long ball forward was misjudged by Martin Sanderson allowing substitute Franny More to nip in. His cross from the right found Gary Clark and the former Cove midfielder proceeded to drill home from 22 yards.
County were desperate for a goal to get back into things and Fridge threw on top scorer Shaun Kerr for injured defender Sanderson. And only a fine save from Blanchard prevented the visitors from halving the deficit after 79 minutes as Mackintosh hit the by-line on the right and cut the ball back into the danger area. Vale defender Allan Stephen attempted to clear at the near post but sliced his effort towards the far post and only a full-length diving save from Blanchard prevented an unlikely own goal.
The home side made sure of the points five minutes from the end as a corner from the left was cleared only as far as unmarked substitute Keith Robertson and he cracked home a sumptuous volley from 22 yards that left Campbell helpless. And two minutes later, County's inability to clear their lines cost them another goal as Bryan Dlugonski collected a Nairn clearance and curled home from 25 yards.
|John Campbell (GK)||28||28||-||77||-|
|Ross Mackenzie (sub)||19||1||-||2||-|
|Shaun Kerr (sub)||21||26||11||26||11|
|Marc MacDonald (sub)||21||6||-||20||-|
No league table has been added for this season.