1 - 2
|Mark Smith (?)||
Glenn Main (86)
Lewis Mackinnon (90)
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Danny Milne for Myles Brownhill (50)
Scott Michie for Neil Gauld (73)
Marc MacDonald for Steven Edwards (69)
Gregg Main for Andrea Coletto (83)
Lewis Mackinnon (90)
A dramatic last five minutes saw Nairn County turn the game on its head and claim a stunning three points and deal Inverurie Locos' title hopes a potentially fatal blow.
The hosts look to be cruising towards a much-needed victory against their depleted visitors. But Nairn's never-say-die attitude shone through in the latter stages as they not only equalised in the last few minutes, but went on to win the game in injury.
Manager Les Fridge had to cobble together a squad again just like when County visited Cove Rangers at the start of the month. It is unfortunate that with all of Nairn's rearranged games that have had to be fitted into the fixture calendar, two of the furthest trips in terms of distance travelled have had to be played midweek.
Top scorer Shaun Kerr missed out because of the eye injury he picked up in Saturday's win over Deveronvale. That meant captain Willie Barron started up front while Steven Edwards also returned to the starting line up in place of Gregg Main. The midfielder was only fit enough to make the bench after struggling with a knock and a heavy cold. There were also places among the substitutes for youth team players Murray Wilson and Martyn Brown along with young defender Paul Macleod.
After a goalless first half with little happening in front of goal, Inverurie took the lead when midfielder Mark Smith rifled home on 64 minutes.
The hosts could not find the all-important second goal to kill the game though and County came roaring back late on. Firstly, Glenn Main netted on 86 minutes after some great link up play with Brian Macleod. Then in injury time, Lewis MacKinnon headed home a dramatic winner to hand Nairn victory against the odds.
Smith was first to threaten for the hosts when he made a probing run forward into the Nairn half. The ex-Cove Rangers, Deveronvale and Elgin City man's surged up the park and almost found a teammate with a cut back into the box. But alert Nairn goalkeeper Callum Donaldson was on hand to make an interception and deny the home side.
Smith himself then fired wide for Locos on 25 minutes before County burst up the other end of the park. Willie Barron beat two Inverurie defenders before floating a shot towards the far post. The Nairn skipper's effort though was kept out by home goalkeeper Andy Reid.
Donaldson then came to County's rescue when he kept out a Craig Ross effort. The Locos midfielder cut in from the wing and tried his luck with a 25-yard drive. The Nairn shot stopper was equal to it though as he tipped the shot onto the crossbar.
Nairn looked to take the game to the home side early on in the second half as they posed an immediate threat. Barron clipped the ball over goalkeeper Reid but the County skipper's effort was headed clear from the goal line by Locos defender Mark Simpson.
Kenny Coull and Ross both then passed up opportunities to put the hosts in front before their pressure finally paid off. It started with a real goalmouth scramble in which County just could not get the ball clear. Danny Milne's shot was blocked in the box and several of his teammates tried their luck with the subsequent rebounds. Several last gasp blocks and the assistance of the post kept the ball out before it eventually fell to Mark Smith. And at the second attempt, the Locos midfielder drove a low shot through a forest of legs and beyond Donaldson.
The home side pushed on in search of a killer second goal. But a lack of clinical finishing in front of goal was their downfall as Ross and Neil McLean were both guilty of passing up chances to make the points save. And the hosts were punished big time in the latter stages of the game.
The equaliser came on 86 minutes after some superb build up play involving Main and Brian Macleod. The former Nairn St Ninian man brilliantly controlled a high ball and played a series of one-twos with the County vice-captain. Suddenly, Glenn Main was in on goal and he kept his composure to slot a low shot past Reid at the 'keeper's near post to stun the home crowd.
And things just got even better for the visitors in the few remaining minutes. Inverurie were suddenly desperate for that second goal and pushed forward in numbers in an attempt to net it. But that just left gaps at the back which were exploited to the full by County.
With just seconds left on the clock, substitute Marc Macdonald scampered down the right and delivered a telling ball into the box. The determination of Lewis MacKinnon saw him get on the end of it and the County centre forward sent a towering header straight into the top corner to send the travelling fans wild.
There was barely time left on the clock for Inverurie to restart the match as County picked up an important three points on a memorable night in Aberdeenshire.
|Callum Donaldson (GK)||23||16||-||21||-|
|Gregg Main (sub)||22||26||3||68||6|
|Marc MacDonald (sub)||22||4||-||26||-|
No league table has been added for this season.