1 - 2
1 - 2
Martin MacDonald (88)
Jamie Watt (73)
Paul Coutts (90)
Chris Finnigan for Shaun Kerr (46)
Glenn Main for Duncan Jones (73)
|Philip Reid for Jerry O'Driscoll (90)|
Martin Sanderson (52)
Steven Edwards (89)
A goal in the final minute of play again robbed Nairn of a share of the spoils against a big spending, Aberdeenshire side. Cove Rangers took the lead in the second half thanks to Jamie Watt but the goal was cancelled out by a Martin MacDonald strike.
With Nairn chasing a winner though, Paul Coutts was the coolest man inside Station Park as he raced through and slotted home for the visitors in the fourth minute of injury time. There was barely time for County to kick off and where referee Scott MacDonald got so many minutes of additional time from is anyone's guess.
County were more than worthy of a share of the spoils as they contained their visitors and restricted them to only a few clear cut scoring opportunities. But Cove were lethal in front of goal as Nairn wasted almost 80 percent of their chances, blasting them high and wide of the target.
Credit has to go to the club for pulling the kick off of this match forward by half an hour ensuring that all of the Nairn supporters were able to get home in time to see Scotland's ultimately fruitless Euro qualifier against Italy. Nairn were criticised for going head-to-head with the Scotland match last month because of the demands of sponsors. Their thought for supporters in this instance should be applauded though.
Manager Les Fridge kept faith with the same eleven who lost out to Buckie last week thanks to a last minute winner. The only chance in the matchday 16 was among the substitutes as youth team captain Callum Riddell was dropped for the returning Chris Finnigan.
The visitors made a positive start to the match as they conjured up a flurry of half chances in the opening minutes but it took until the quarter-hour mark for the first real chance to arise. It fell Nairn's way as midfielder Wayne Mackintosh found himself free wide on the right and he unleashed a powerful shot that flashed across Lee Windrum's goal and wide of the far post.
Cove winger Barrie Stephen was a constant thorn in Nairn's side throughout the afternoon and he found himself unmarked on the right edge of the penalty box to chest down a cross from the left in the 28th minute. The former Deveronvale man's volley was held by Nairn goalkeeper John Campbell with the Cove strikers waiting to pounce on a loose ball.
Two minutes later, Stephen was at it again as he cut inside Martin Sanderson down the right before seeing his low drive from the right edge of the penalty area parried by Campbell.
Nairn should have done better in the 33rd minute when a Brian Macleod cross from the right was mis-judged by Clark Bain. The Scotland Semi-Pro International allowed the ball to bounce as he attempted to head it clear, and he got the flight of the ball completely wrong, allowing it to bounce through to Willie Barron at the back post. The Nairn skipper controlled the ball but could only send his shot from a couple of yards into the side netting.
Cove were back on the attack ten minutes before the interval as Jamie Watt hit a speculative shot from 20 yards out. It looked easy enough for Campbell to gather but the Nairn goalkeeper let the ball run through his legs and it trickled harmlessly past the post.
Campbell had to be alert four minutes after the restart as he raced from his goal line to clear the danger after Watt had evaded the Nairn defence and was preparing to bear down on goal.
Then in the 58th minute, Jerry O'Driscoll headed the ball down to Ritchie Livingstone but his rasping volley from the edge of the box sailed over the crossbar.
County created a couple of half chances in the opening stages of the second half but Cove were looking the more likely side and Stephen came close with a rasping drive from the right edge of the box that flashed across goal and past the post.
It was looking more and more like the side who got their noses in front would win the game and when the opening goal arrived in the 73rd minute it fell the way of the visitors. Grant Fraser had acres of space on the left to deliver a cross that found the head of the unmarked O'Driscoll. His effort was excellently parried by Campbell but Watt was first to react as he bundled the ball home to give the visitors the lead. The uncalled for taunts of the visitors' goalkeeper Windrum to the home supporters added fuel to the flames as the Nairn players must have felt hard done by to be behind despite more than matching their big spending opponents.
Cove looked more than happy to hold out for a one-goal win by this stage but Nairn had other ideas as they threw bodies forward in the dying minutes. And their boldness paid off in the 88th minute when Steven Edwards' high cross into the box landed at the feet of makeshift striker Martin MacDonald and the former Brora man drilled home from eight yards.
County continued to push forward and despite Fridge screaming from the technical area for MacDonald to get back and defend, he was making a vital contribution to Nairn's forward play. He collected the ball with his back to goal some 20 yards out and fired in a low shot that was spilled behind by Windrum. And from Barron's resulting corner, the big man won the ball in the air, knocking it down to Martin Sanderson at the back post but the ex-Clach man scooped his shot agonisingly over the crossbar from only a couple of yards out.
Nairn were then stung by the Cove winner in the fourth minute of injury time as they were caught chasing the game. Midfielder Paul Coutts collected the ball in the Nairn half and he drove at the County defence. The former Aberdeen man skipped past two challenges and then showed that he was the coolest man inside Station Park as he stroked the ball home from 15 yards to hand the visitors a vital if undeserved three points.
|John Campbell (GK)||28||17||-||66||-|
|Glenn Main (sub)||22||11||-||21||-|
|Chris Finnigan (sub)||21||11||1||11||1|
No league table has been added for this season.