1 - 0
1 - 0
Shaun Kerr (78)
Graeme Stewart for Gregg Main (89)
Evan Murray for Muir Morton (26)
David Manson for John Colquhoun (68)
Sean Robertson for Scott Begg (89)
Shaun Kerr (60)
Gregg Main (73)
Lewis Mackinnon (85)
Nairn County are back to winning ways after a narrow 1-0 success over Brora Rangers at Station Park.
It may not have been the side's most convincing performance but it was enough to earn the three points after a tough few weeks for the club.
Manager Les Fridge made three changes to the side that lost out in the semi final of the Highland League Cup on Saturday. Lewis MacKinnon returned to the attack as Willie Barron played wide in midfield to fill the void left by the unavailable Glenn Main. With Wayne Mackintosh also unavailable, David Hind partnered Gregg Main in the middle of the park, Stephen Skinner shifted inside to centre half and Brian Macleod moved to right back. That meant Marc MacDonald was handed a first start of the season in a wide midfield berth. Also, Billy Horne started in favour of Andrea Coletto at left back in a straight swap.
After struggling to break down the visitors in the first half, County made the breakthrough following a tactical switch at the interval. The opening goal finally arrived when Shaun Kerr returned to the score sheet with a diving header to hand Nairn the three points.
Brora probed forward early on and almost edged in front when Scott Begg's corner fell to John Colquhoun. But the former Nairn player could only drive his shot over the crossbar.
The visitors came even closer to scoring a few minutes later. Hind conceded a free kick on the edge of the County box. Arran Christie took on the responsibility and his curling effort clipped the bar on its way over the top.
Nairn went up the park through a Marc MacDonald run. But his low cross into the danger area just evaded Lewis MacKinnon's attempts to apply the finish thanks to the intervention of Brora goalkeeper Matthew Curtis.
MacDonald himself should have put County in front on 26 minutes though. He sneaked in at the back post to meet Gregg Main's in-swinging cross but from close range, he could only send his effort over the bar.
It was Brora who were passing up gilt-edged chances a minute later as John Cameron was sent clean through on Callum Donaldson's goal. The big goalkeeper raced from his line and Cameron clipped the ball over him but Horne managed to race back to make the vital clearance.
Hind almost grabbed his first goal for the club on 35 minutes. The former Elgin City captain headed a MacKinnon cross goalwards but he was denied by a Curtis save.
Brora had the last chance of the half when Cameron teed up Gordon Connelly. The former Forres Mechanics player-manager's effort from range did not trouble Donaldson though.
County boss Fridge altered his system at the interval to try and breathe some life into the game as Hind dropped into defence to sweep in a back three that also consisted on Martin MacDonald and Stephen Skinner. Brian Macleod moved into the middle of the park alongside Gregg Main with Horne and Marc MacDonald wide while Barron supported the strikers.
And the change almost paid instant dividends as County were denied by the woodwork in the opening stages of the half. A Kerr cross looped over Curtis but the goalkeeper managed to keep the ball out by tipping it onto the far post.
Nairn continued to threaten as they took more of a grip of the game. They almost made the breakthrough on 58 minutes when Gregg Main tried his luck from distance. The Nairn midfielder saw his effort flash just over the bar.
County finally found the decisive goal with just 12 minutes left for play as they made their pressure count. Marc MacDonald surged down the right and sent an inviting cross into the box. And Shaun Kerr showed all the traits of a quality centre forward as he got across his marker to meet the ball with a brave diving header which flew past Curtis to give the hosts the head.
Indeed, the home side could have doubled their advantage only a few minutes later. MacKinnon saw his shot from inside the box parried by Curtis and Kerr just couldn't quite get enough on the rebound to send it home.
Brora pushed forward in numbers late on as they attempted to snatch a draw. The closest they came to levelling was on 87 minutes when Cameron's effort was blocked by Donaldson before Steven McCallum raced forward from defence but failed to hit the target.
|Callum Donaldson (GK)||24||19||-||24||-|
|Graeme Stewart (sub)||22||4||-||4||-|
No league table has been added for this season.