3 - 2
Martin Charlesworth (54)
Charlie Brown (76)
Donnie Munro (81)
Lewis Mackinnon (29)
Shaun Kerr (59)
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Craig MacMillan for Paul Napier (65)
Stuart Cumming for Martin Charlesworth (82)
Scott Graham for Lewis Mackinnon (77)
|Martin Charlesworth (62)||
Stephen Skinner (65)
Martin MacDonald (84)
The Nairn fans came away from Victoria Park, Buckie wondering how their team managed to take nothing from the match. It was a game they looked in control of from the kick off as they twice had the lead. But the old Jekyll and Hyde act kicked in and County were left pointless for the third game in a row as Buckie nicked all the points late on.
Nairn looked comfortable in the first half but again their failure to kill off teams when on top came back to haunt them big time. After the restart, it was clear Buckie had the bit between their teeth and County were pushed back, so much so that wide midfielder Willie Barron rarely got over the halfway line. The Nairn skipper effectively became a defender, which left the travelling fans wondering why he wasn't replaced by someone who can defend. The failure to do so stretched the County defence and gave the hosts so much space to run into.
Nairn boss Les Fridge had new signing Lewis MacKinnon available to make a debut against his former club. He replaced Scott Graham up front and looked very sharp.
Meanwhile, Steven Edwards came in for Neil MacDonald and Gregg Main replaced Duncan Jones - who is set to join the police in February. Callum Donaldson continued to do well between the sticks but the loss of 10 goals in the last three league outings will play hard on his mind.
County took a first half lead when MacKinnon made an instant impact as he swept home after rounding Buckie goalkeeper Kevin Main. The home side levelled when Martin Charlesworth slammed home on 54 minutes. But County re-established their lead only five minutes later when Shaun Kerr plundered his 10th goal of the season. Disaster struck for Nairn though when Charlie Brown levelled or Buckie after 76 minutes before Donnie Munro grabbed the winner nine minutes from time.
Buckie were first to show on six minutes when Martin Charlesworth did well to find space just outside the box. But the former Elgin City forward could only send his powerful shot straight at Donaldson.
Nairn were quick to prove they weren't there just to make up the numbers though. Captain Willie Barron did well to pick out Gregg Main in the Buckie penalty area but his deflected shot trundled painfully past the post. The resulting corner somehow eluded everyone in the six-yard box and went to safety.
At the other end, an untimely slip by Stephen Skinner let in Paul Napier. His shot was met on the volley by Brown but he sent it well over the Nairn bar.
New signing MacKinnon was pairing up well with Shaun Kerr and the duo worked a good move on the 20th minute but the Nairn player shot weakly at the Buckie goal.
With 29 minutes on the clock, County grabbed the opener. A long ball out of the Buckie defence was well won by Wayne Mackintosh. He controlled and sent an inviting ball for Lewis MacKinnon to chase. Goalkeeper Main seemed to take an age to leave his line and MacKinnon had no problem taking the ball around him and slotting it into the empty net to score on his Nairn debut for the second time.
Buckie replied immediately when Mike MacDonald sent a vicious shot just past Donaldson's right hand post with the home fans thinking it had crept in.
The hosts were now coming more into the game but most of their play was easily mopped up by the stern Nairn defence, with Martin MacDonald commanding things.
Buckie wasted no time in showing Nairn their tactics for the second half as straight from kick off it was clear that they would use the long ball for Brown the chase. And it nearly paid dividends on 47 minutes when the evergreen ex-Forres front man latched onto a long clearance from his goalkeeper. But somehow his lob not only cleared Donaldson but the Nairn crossbar as well.
Great play by Kerr three minutes later saw him rob MacDonald and send a telling ball into the Buckie. Main was rooted to his line but MacKinnon's back post header went agonisingly past the wrong side of the post.
The visitors were looking the more likely at this point and Mackintosh should have done better when he broke into the Buckie box. But he tried to get the ball onto his good foot and when it did come, the shot was well touched away by Main with MacKinnon ready to punish any mistake.
This was to prove costly for Nairn as Buckie drew level. The hosts broke to the other end of the park with the predictable long ball. Brown did well to control it and feed Martin Charlesworth who wasted no time in despatching it past the oncoming Donaldson on 54 minutes.
But the home side was left stunned five minutes later as County went back in front. Top scorer Shaun Kerr did very well to control Skinner's pass and with his back to goal, he spun and sent a powerful drive past the despairing.
Nairn were back in front but for some reason they looked very nervous and unsure at the back. So much so that several defenders were asking the bench if they were to go to a different defensive setup. But before a decision was made, Buckie had levelled the match.
Again it was a long ball from The Jags' defence that was the source of the attack in the 76th minute. Charlie Brown was allowed to run past County's static central defenders and lob the stranded Donaldson to draw Gregg Carroll's men level.
The home side were laying siege on the Nairn goal by now and creating chance after chance as the visitors struggled to get and keep possession.
Buckie should have been in front for the first time on 79 minutes when - with the Nairn defence stretched - Charlesworth found the unmarked MacDonald deep on the left. His cross was met by unmarked sub Craig MacMillan who really should have buried it but his mis-hit shot was smothered by Donaldson on the line.
The home fans didn't have long to wait to cheer their team going in front for the first time. Brown's lay off was met by Donnie Munro and he finished clinically past Donaldson with nine minutes left for play.
Nairn were lucky to get away with conceding only three goals as Donaldson pulled off two great stops in the dying minutes. First from a MacMillan curling shot and then the big keeper did well to dive at Brown's feet and deny the Buckie striker.
|Callum Donaldson (GK)||23||5||-||10||-|
|Scott Graham (sub)||21||18||4||39||6|
No league table has been added for this season.