0 - 1
Scott Graham (53)
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Chris Grant for Mark Dougal (70)
Kris Duncan for Rab Coll (73)
Steven Edwards for Billy Horne (84)
Wayne Mackintosh for Gregg Main (88)
Neil MacDonald (26)
Duncan Jones (34)
Martin MacDonald (37)
Gary Black (55)
It's never easy playing the same team twice within a week, as Nairn County discovered at MacKessack Park when they took on Rothes only four days after dismantling The Speysiders in the North of Scotland Cup. The hosts were clearly looking to put the record straight after their woeful showing at Station Park on Tuesday as they salvaged a lot of pride in this one. Thankfully for Les Fridge's men though, the hosts were unable to gain any form of result as Nairn ground out a 1-0 victory thanks to a Scott Graham strike early on in the second half.
The manager made one enforced change to the side that romped to that victory in the cup semi final in midweek as the departed Jonathan Holland was replaced in midfield by Duncan Jones. The former Don's place on the bench was filled by the returning Wayne Mackintosh.
Rothes more than held their own this time round in a goalless first half, something they had far from managed to do in the cup tie where they went in four down at the interval. But ultimately their efforts were in vain points-wise as Graham netted eight minutes after the restart to secure Nairn's second league win in a row while the defence held firm to rack up a fourth successive clean sheet.
Nairn started where they left off on Tuesday night and really should have taken the lead after only two minutes when midweek's hat trick hero Shaun Kerr was put clean through on goal only to see his shot blocked by sprawling goalkeeper Stevie Dunn, who was one of several changes to that Rothes team put to the sword in the North Cup.
The changes seemed to be doing the trick for the home side and after five minutes Iain Macrae should have netted but blasted wide when scoring looked the easier option.
Rothes certainly had the bit between their teeth and a long diagonal ball was met by the head of Macrae who looked on in agony as his header floated over the Nairn crossbar with John Campbell beaten.
Nairn replied through Gary Black but his fine effort was deflected behind by the Rothes defence at the expense of a corner.
Rothes again employed the long ball policy and it nearly paid off when Martin MacDonald and Campbell both misjudged the bounce of the ball but Mike Smith prodded wide with the goal gaping.
The hosts held the upper hand by this stage and again came close when Macrae rifled a fine shot inches past the visitors' goal.
The tackles were now flying in and Nairn's Neil MacDonald was judged to have stood on a Rothes forward after the ball had been played and was lucky the colour of the card was only yellow.
Only the woodwork prevented County from taking the lead when Jones sent in a great corner which was met by Stephen Skinner but his header cannoned off the crossbar and was cleared by the home defence.
Nairn were caught out by the long ball when MacDonald again misjudged the flight but Rothes striker Rab Coll decided to shoot first time and his shot went straight to the waiting Campbell.
A good run by Jones freed up Kerr whose back flick fell into the path of Black only for Dunn to make a fine diving save at the ex-Forres man's feet.
The second half started tamely but Nairn finally got in front after 53 minutes when Jones beat two men on the right before passing to Black who was looking for a chance to shoot but opted to square the ball to Graham. This wrong footed the home defence and the former Fort William striker slotted home under Dunn from all of 20 yards although it looked as if the goalkeeper should really have kept it out.
Nairn were now trying to kill the game off and some good football by Black set up Martin MacDonald but his shot was well saved by Dunn.
County continued to attack and adopted the Rothes tactic of the long ball when Campbell sent a clearance into the opposite goal area for Graham to head on to Kerr whose goalward flick was pushed round the post by a full length dive by Dunn who was certainly keeping his team in this one.
He was action called into action in the 72nd minute to save another goalbound shot, this time from Martin MacDonald.
Graham found some space on the left in the 80th minute and his cross was met first time by Kerr but he sent his shot well over the bar when he knew he should have done better. This was the last real action of the game which Nairn were happy to see out. Not the best of performances by a long way but another clean sheet and more importantly, another three points.
|John Campbell (GK)||28||7||-||90||-|
|Steven Edwards (sub)||27||6||-||126||3|
|Wayne Mackintosh (sub)||20||3||1||85||5|
No league table has been added for this season.