2 - 3
Michael Stephen (69)
Martin MacDonald (75)
Chris Finnigan (2)
Scott Graham (5)
Martin MacDonald (25)
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Craig Ritchie for Nico Marchi (59)
Muir Murray for Allan Hale (86)
Gregg Main for Duncan Jones (59)
Shaun Kerr for Chris Finnigan (85)
|Steven Main (27)||
Chris Finnigan (51)
John Campbell (65)
Gregg Main (66)
A first half goal blitz by Nairn County was enough to earn the club's first victory at Fraserburgh's Bellslea Park since 2001. But Les Fridge's men were left clinging on to the three points after racing into a three-goal lead inside the first 25 minutes. Only the linesman's flag prevented the Broch from snatching a share of the spoils in injury time after the home side fought their way back into the contest with two second half goals.
Incredibly, this was Nairn's first league win away against any Aberdeenshire FA club under Fridge's stewardship and the manager saw his side get off to a wonderful start thanks to goals from summer signings Chris Finnigan and Scott Graham after only five minutes. Martin MacDonald then headed home a third in the 25th minute to seemingly kill the match but the Broch pulled one back in the 69th minutes through Michael Stephen. A MacDonald own goal 15 minutes from the end set up an nerve jangling finale and the hosts thought they had pulled off the Great Escape when Graham Johnston netted from a Muir Murray cross but the Broch man was judged to have been offside to the relief of the visitors who went on to claim all three points.
Fridge made three changes to the side that was beaten at the death by Cove Rangers in their last outing a fortnight ago. Steven Edwards was unavailable while Gregg Main and Shaun Kerr dropped to the bench. Their places in the team were taken by Glenn Main, Finnigan and Graham, who was making his first start for the club.
The visitors flew out of the starting blocks and opened the scoring with only two minutes on the clock. Graham flighted a high cross into the box that was met by Finnigan at the back post and the former Elgin City man did the rest as he slid home past home goalkeeper Michael Thomson for his first league goals in County colours.
Then, only three minutes later, County were two goals to the good as Graham turned executioner. Duncan Jones's fine, long ball picked out Willie Barron and the Nairn captain delivered an accurate cross for the former Fort William man to turn home.
It was an incredible start for the visitors but Fraserburgh launched their first attack soon after and were denied by a fine John Campbell save. Johnston played Derek Milne through on goal but the ex-Hibernian shotstopper was equal to the Broch captain's effort as he dived to his right and made the save.
Nairn refused to give their hosts any breathing space though and tightened their grip on the match with a third goal in the 25th minute. Jones launched a free kick into the box that landed at the feet of Martin MacDonald and he lashed home to continue his fine form in front of goal.
Campbell again denied the home side a way back into the match when he blocked Allan Hale's shot after the Broch youngster had been picked out by Marc Dickson's flighted pass.
The visitors remained in control though and at times their hosts could not get near them. But it was the home side who created the next chance of the match. On the stroke of half time, Martin Sanderson had to be in the right place at the right time to hack Stephen's effort clear from the goal-line.
The Broch had a great chance to grab themselves a lifeline straight after the restart when Dickson's cross picked out Johnston but the home side's front man fluffed his shot which made the save an easy one for Campbell.
County were looking increasingly comfortable as the half wore on but were forced into a change that seemed to upset the rhythm when Duncan Jones limped off with a leg injury.
Fraserburgh finally pulled a goal back in the 69th minute when former Highland League Player of the Year got lucky with a free kick that he sent into the box. The delivery missed everyone and flashed into the Nairn net to give the hosts some hope.
That sense of hope was strengthened six minutes later when the home side clawed their visitors to within one goal. Campbell try to punch clear a Johnston corner into the box but only succeeded in deflecting it off his defender, Martin MacDonald and into the net as MacDonald claimed a goal at both ends.
The home side began to throw everything forward and almost levelled when a Stephen cutback found Johnston six yards from goal but he was crowded out by the alert Nairn back line.
Fraserburgh's 'gung-ho' approach left gaps at the back and these were almost fully exploited by some fine Nairn counter raids. Finnigan was denied a second goal of the day by the crossbar five minutes from time when he got his head on the end of a Barron cross but saw his effort come back off the woodwork.
Then the visitors were denied a stonewall penalty when Baron was floored in the box before the woodwork kept the home side in it yet again. This time it was Glenn Main who had the shot for Nairn as he tried his luck from all of 30 yards and was inches away from marking his first goal for the club with a fine and vital strike.
The home side thought they had snatched a draw when Johnston raced on to a Muir Murray pass and slotted home but the linesman raised his flag for offside and the chance was gone and with it, Fraserburgh's chance of taking any points from the game.
|John Campbell (GK)||28||18||-||67||-|
|Gregg Main (sub)||21||13||1||26||2|
|Shaun Kerr (sub)||21||16||10||16||10|
No league table has been added for this season.