3 - 1
3 - 1
Gregg Main (22)
Shaun Kerr (84)
Stuart Knight (o.g.) (87)
|Ricky Wardrop (90)|
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Jason Robertson for Gregg Main (78)
Graeme Stewart for Wayne Mackintosh (89)
Ricky Wardrop for Iain Penwright (62)
Kevin Collins for Neil Whyte (66)
Kenny Hendry for Ross Duncan (83)
Shaun Kerr (49)
Bruce Milne (30)
Ross Duncan (75)
Ninth spot in the Highland League table is Nairn County's for the taking after they continued their home dominance of the local derby showdown with woeful rivals Forres Mechanics.
After the disappointment of recent losses, it was pleasing to see Les Fridge's side return to winning ways in such a big fixture. And the welcome three points saw County leapfrog their rivals in the league table.
Manager Fridge brought captain Willie Barron back into the starting line up with the impressive Lewis MacKinnon suspended. Goalkeeper John Campbell was unavailable and there was no place in the squad for Marc MacDonald - even though the Nairn lad has just signed a new deal at the club. But Jason Robertson claimed a place on the bench after impressing in training following his return from junior side Nairn St Ninian.
Nairn opened the scoring in the first half through the industrious Gregg Main - who seemed to cover every blade of grass on the pitch during the match. And despite Forres pushing hard for an equaliser in the second half, it was County who grabbed the important second goal through Shaun Kerr to make the points safe with five minutes to go. The night got better for the hosts when a Kerr shot rebounded into the net off Forres goalkeeper Stuart Knight before the visitors grabbed a late consolation through Ricky Wardrop.
The match started tamely and only a long throw-in by Forres wide man Simon Allan caused any danger in the Nairn area. The delivery was as good as a free-kick as it made its way to the other side of the box but it was headed to safety by David Hind.
Nairn's Glenn Main then warmed the palms of Forres goalkeeper Knight as he sent a fierce shot across the six-yard box after being sent free by a good pass from the now-limping Stephen Skinner.
Forres came close to opening the scoring on 12 minutes when a good flick on by Kyle Scott landed into the path of the on-running Iain Penwright. But Callum Donaldson was quick off his line to smother at the striker's feet.
Next up was a great half-volley by Brian Macleod that Knight did well to gather at the second attempt.
By the 20th minute, the Nairn fans had seen more action in this game than they had witnessed in the previous two home matches.
Donaldson proved on 20 minutes that goalkeepers are a bit on the crazy side. He collected a through ball outside his box and then tried to dribble past a Forres forward. The ball broke to Scott who promptly dispatched it into the Nairn net but his delight was short-lived as the referee blew for a foul on Donaldson, to the bemusement of the Forres players and supporters and relief of the County faithful.
This relief turned to joy for the home fans two minutes later though as their favourites opened the scoring. Gregg Main seemed to lose his footing as he controlled a Macleod pass. But the Nairn midfielder Nairn midfielder managed to get his boot to the ball as he was lying on the ground and, with the help of a slight deflection off a Forres defender, the shot left Knight helpless as it flew into the net.
It was the perfect way for Main to celebrate committing his future to the club for a further four seasons and he seemed well in the mood. He was unlucky not to grab a second goal when his shot flashed just over the bar with Knight well-beaten.
A well-worked one-two between Macleod and Shaun Kerr then saw the former shoot just past on 30 minutes.
Nairn were dominating at this stage but as in previous games their possession was not being rewarded with goals. And they were nearly made to pay when a clever back heel by Ryan Green found its way to Penwright but the Forres forward seemed to panic and hit his shot into the side-netting when it seemed easier to score.
Forres again went close in the final minute of the half when Ross Duncan beat Skinner in a race to the ball. But the former Rothes man sent his toe poke over the bar.
If Nairn had dominated possession in the first half, the same cannot be said for the second as Forres threw everything at the home team in search of an equaliser.
An uncharacteristic fresh air kick by Macleod let Graeme Grant in. But with the Nairn goal at his mercy, he sent his weak effort wide of the target.
Gregg Main continued to shine for Nairn and was unlucky not to double his tally when he weaved past three defenders and closed in on goal. But Knight did well to block his shot and dive on the rebound.
Penwright was again presented with a great chance for Forres when he latched onto a long clearance from his own half. The little Forres man sped past Martin MacDonald and from 20 yards sent a powerful shot goalwards which brought out a splendid diving save from Donaldson to keep his side in front.
Substitute Ricky Wardrop was also out of luck when his turn and shot looked goalbound only for it to be deflected wide.
Gregg Main was in the right place at the right time on 75 minutes when a Scott header beat Donaldson and was about to cross the line. The Nairn goalscorer appeared from nowhere though to boot it to safety at the back post.
The equalising goal continued to elude the visitors and they were made to pay on 84 minutes. A defence-splitting pass by Willie Barron found Shaun Kerr with time to draw the goalkeeper from his six-yard box. And Nairn's top scorer made no mistake as he calmly passed the ball into the far corner of the net to give his side a two-goal lead and surely all three points.
That was guaranteed three minutes later and again it was Barron who was the architect. His fantastic cross-field pass found Glenn Main. The elder of the brothers was unlucky to see his sizzling shot come back off the crossbar but the rebound landed at the feet of the unmarked Kerr. His shot looked like it was heading wide but with some luck - which has eluded County in the past month - the ball cannoned off Forres goalkeeper Stuart Knight and flew into the net.
Forres pulled back a consolation in the final minute through Ricky Wardrop but it was not enough to cause any concern in the Nairn ranks, apart from to Donaldson who was irate at his defence for not securing the clean sheet.
|Callum Donaldson (GK)||24||22||-||27||-|
|Graeme Stewart (sub)||22||5||-||5||-|
|Jason Robertson (sub)||21||1||-||30||4|
No league table has been added for this season.