1 - 0
1 - 0
North Region Challenge Cup (1st Round)
Shaun Kerr (35)
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Glenn Main for Neil MacDonald (66)
Chris Finnigan for Shaun Kerr (88)
Gregg Main for Wayne Mackintosh (89)
Ricky Wardrop for Simon Allan (67)
Justin Rodgers for Charlie Brown (71)
Tony Ross for Jordan Main (86)
Darren Jarvie (58)
Chris Finnigan (87)
Wayne Mackintosh (87)
Stephen McIntosh (48)
John Mutch (61)
|None.||Donald Horsburgh (82)|
A solitary first half strike from the prolific Shaun Kerr booked Nairn's place in the last eight of the new Scottish Challenge Cup after they defeated local rivals Forres Mechanics at Station Park for the second time less than two weeks. The match wasn't for the feint-hearted as two Nairn players required treatment for bloody knocks, with Neil MacDonald having to be substituted after a nasty head collision. Les Fridge's side will now face Keith at Kynoch Park in two weeks time.
The manager made one change for this match as the unavailable Steven Edwards was replaced by Neil MacDonald who was returning from suspension. Glenn Main was back on the bench which meant there was no room in the matchday squad for Marc MacDonald.
County got off to a flying start and almost broke the deadlock inside the first three minutes. Brian Macleod looped a long ball forward that caught the Forres defence flat-footed. Willie Barron raced through but he could only slice his angle shot wide of the target.
The visitors first threatened with 22 minutes on the clock as Darren Jarvie failed to deal with Gary Black's cross. The loose ball fell to Simon Allan on the edge of the penalty area but he smashed his shot over John Campbell's crossbar.
Shaun Kerr then played a great reverse pass from wide on the left into Macleod in the 34th minute which the Nairn full back hit first time on the angle at the front post. His effort was blocked by visiting goalkeeper Stuart Knight who did just enough to take the sting out of the ball and allow Black the time to get back and comfortably clear from the goal-line.
Less than a minute later Kerr went one better as County broke the deadlock. It was Neil MacDonald who instigated the move as his through ball sent Barron racing in on goal. The Nairn forward attempted to go round the Knight but was floored by the shotstopper and as referee Graham Fraser was lifting his whistle to his lips to blow for a penalty, Kerr sprinted in toe place the loose ball into the net from a couple of yards to score his fifth goal in County colours.
Forres almost drew level with their best chance of the half five minutes before the break. Black's cross from the left was perfect for Neil Whyte to stoop and head goalwards but the Forres skipper's effort was inches past the far post.
County should have made the visitors pay for that miss in the 42nd minute though when Macleod picked out Duncan Jones with a low cross from the right that the Nairn midfielder fired goalwards at the back post only to be denied by a goal-line block by Forres defender John Mutch. Then Neil MacDonald almost supplied another County goal when he picked out Barron at the back post with a deep free kick from the right but the County captain headed over.
The hosts were inches away from doubling their lead five minutes after the restart. Barron surged past Donald Horsburgh down the left before picking out Jones with a cross from the by-line. The former Aberdeen youth then smashed a shot goalwards from the edge of the box onto the see the ball crash off the underside of the crossbar.
Charlie Brown created the Mechanics' first chance of the half when he found Allan with a cut back in from the left in the 56th minute but the Forres midfielder saw his 15-yard shot drift wide of the post. Then Brown was the inspiration behind another of the visitors' attacks 13 minutes later when he ran at the Nairn defence and slipped the ball to Mark Dougall but the former Fort William man's shot was held by Campbell.
A poor Campbell kick in the 74th minute handed Forres possession as the ball fell at the feet of substitute Ricky Wardrop who drove forward only to mis-fire his low shot sending it past the post.
A minute later, County almost added a second goal when Martin MacDonald fired a snapshot from 22 yards goalwards but his effort was held by Knight.
Forres' hopes of forcing extra time were dealt a fatal blow eight minutes from the end when they were reduced to ten men. Donald Horsburgh was given his marching orders for hauling down Kerr on the edge of the Forres box with the Nairn striker racing towards goal. Jones almost rubbed salt into the wounds from the resulting free kick but his thunderous low drive flashed inches past the wrong side of the post.
Nairn conjured up one final chance to put icing on the cake in the 85th minute when Jones chipped the ball into the box from the right and picked out MacDonald but his low header was held by Knight.
|John Campbell (GK)||27||3||-||52||-|
|Glenn Main (sub)||22||2||-||12||-|
|Gregg Main (sub)||20||3||-||16||1|
|Chris Finnigan (sub)||21||2||-||2||-|
No league table has been added for this season.