3 - 2
North of Scotland Cup (2nd Round)
Gary Farquhar (pen.) (90)
Iain Brooks (92)
Steve Sanderson for Garry Ewing
It looked on the park as if it wasn't going to be Nairn's day today but they eventually won through in this Quarter Final tie. Ronnie Sharp made 1 change to the side that won so emphatically last week at Clach as Steven Edwards was suspended. Neal Sinclair moved in to play in the centre of midfield and Garry Ewing filled to void on the left of midfield vacated by Sinclair(as predicted by me in the Match Preview of this game).
The blustery wind and heavy rain caused both sets of players a lot of trouble as any high ball caught in the wind and hung in the air. Nairn settled first and had early opportunites first from a Barron header that went over the bar and secondly from a Brooks shot from an acute angle that he flashed across the face of the goal. Nairn were in full control of this tie and it looked as if the only way Wick would score in this game would be by catching Nairn on the counter attack with their quick attackers. Rae had to be on top form when a rare Wick attack brought out the best in him. Kellacher and Holmes both passed up good chances in a lackustre half that was mainly controlled by the adverse weather.
Nairn continued to control proceedings in the second 45 and a Holmes cross played across the face of the goal was just a bit too far in front of Brooks' out-stretched leg for him to reach. The bulk of the game was played in the middle of the park with Nairn having the vast majority of possession but they couldn't carve any clear cut openings or threaten the resolute Wick defence. Wick then opening the scoring against the run of play with their first attack of the second half when a corner fom the left was poked home by Craig Shearer at the near post. This was the wake up call Nairn needed 2 lift their game and immediately they threatened to get an equalizer when Brooks made a surging run through the defence but his effort hit the side netting. County then introduced Steve Sanderson for Garry Ewing in a bid to salvage at least extra time from this game and he made an immediate impact when he scored with 1 of his first touches of the ball. A Holmes corner from the left dropped perfectly for the wee striker to prod home from 5 yards out.
Then minutes later Sanderson had the ball in the net again but his joy was short lived as the linesman's flag was up for offside. It looked now that Nairn may go on and take the lead but it was the visitors who struck next. When a Martin Gunn long range effort bobbled nastily and forced Rae to spill the catch Steven Reid was there to pounce and put the visitors back in the driving seat. Nairn kept persisting with their attacks and in the final minutes won a penalty when the Wick keeper Kung-Fu kicked Holmes inside the box in an effort to win a 50/50. Gary Farquhar was the coolest man on the park as he slotted home from 12 yards to send the tie to extra time.
Wick were reduced to 10 men as soon as the final whistle blew as a player pushed the ref's patience too far with his abuse.
Nairn kicked of extra time and immediately attacked the Wick goal and won a corner. This was floated in to the back post and was scrambled over the line by a crowd of Nairn players but it has since been confirmed that Brooks got the final touch. Wick's best chance of the first period of extra time came from an indirect free kick in which Rae assembled all of his outfield players on the line in a wall and stood in front of them. The orginal effort hit the wall and the follow up was scuffed tamely wide.
In the second half of extra time it looked more and more like Nairn would increase their lead as they had the majority of the chances and the most possession. Scott Kellacher came closest after beating several Wick defenders but his effort came back off the outside of the post. Despite this Wick did come agonizingly close to forcing extra time when a bundled effort was sensationally cleared off the line by Nairn sub Alan Cormie. Holmes was dismissed for Nairn for his second bookable offence as things threatened to get out of hand and the fired up winger had to be restrained by Nairn Assistant gaffer Derek Main who was in turn spoken to by the referee for leaving his technical area.
This was a hard game played in very difficult conditions but thankfully Nairn are in the semi finals and still have a very good chance of going all the way and winning their first trophy since 1977. This is the first time they have won 3 games in a row under Sharp and hopefully they can make it 4 next week against Inverurie at Station Park in the league.
|Michael Rae (GK)||-||18||-||18||-|
|Steve Sanderson (sub)||21||8||4||18||12|
No league table has been added for this season.