4 - 2
4 - 2
Scottish Qualifying Cup (1st Round)
Martin Sanderson (22)
Darren Shallicker (42)
Iain Brooks (67)
David MacRae (74)
Willie Barron for Tony Low (61)
David MacRae for Duncan Jones (66)
Scott Kellacher for Darren Shallicker (80)
Matheson for Rogers (68)
Gaffney for Green (69)
Hardie for T Ross (77)
Neil MacDonald (41)
Brian Macleod (64)
Neil MacDonald (84)
Steven Duff (Referee)
Nairn showed their strength of character to progress to the Quarter Final stage of the Qualifying Cup for the first time in five season as they staved off a resilient Forres fightback to earn a home showdown with Deveronvale for a place in the Scottish Cup proper.
County boss Les Fridge made one change to the team that won at Elgin in their last outing, after having a free week last Saturday, as Scott Nicholl dropped out of the squad completely to see his place in the line-up taken by the returning Brian Macleod.
The visitors to Mosset Park weathered an early storm before establishing a two-goal half ime advantage thanks to strikes from Martin Sanderson and Darren Shallicker. But the hosts fought back after the break with two Charlie Brown goals in a three minute period. Nairn however, dug deep and fashioned two further goals through Iain Brooks and David MacRae to finally bury the Mechanics hopes of a second successive Scottish Cup appearance.
The home side created the first chance of the game with five minutes on the clock when Brown's ball in from the left was controlled by Shawn Scott. He was able to pick out the run of skipper Neil Whyte but he fired his shot wide of John Campbell's post with only the County custodian to beat.
Former Elgin midfielder Whyte was at the heart of things again for the hosts four minutes later but his angled drive went well wide of the upright.
County's first chance of note fell to the prolific Darren Shallicker. The big striker showed great footwork in the box to twist and turn his way towards goal but his low shot was blocked by Robbie Taylor in the Forres goal.
The Mechanics went close to opening the scoring again when Marco de Barros's corner was headed down by Whyte to the feet of Ryan Green. The former Nairn man did well to get turned in the box and unleash a powerful shot that Campbell blocked with his legs.
It was County who opened the scoring though as Martin Sanderson grabbed his second goal in as many games. Duncan Jones whipped in a corner kick to the back post where the former Clach defender was on hand to head his side into a 22nd minute lead.
Campbell in the Nairn goal had to be at the top of his game to preserve his side's lead on the half hour mark. Former Buckie Thistle striker Shawn Scott fired goalwards a volley that looked all the way as if it was destined for the net. But the former Fort William and Hibs goalkeeper had other ideas as he flew across his goal to keep it out.
It was to be a crucial save for the visitors as they went on to add a second three minutes before the break. Iain Brooks overpowered the Forres defence to head the ball down to Shallicker and he continued his excellent start to his time at Station Park as he fired home a stunning volley from 16-yards that left Taylor in the Forres goal helpless.
Campbell again had to be at his best to prevent the home side from getting back into things, this time on the hour mark. Scott made an enterprising forray down the left wing and rasped a 25-yard shot goalwards but Campbell was equal to it as he kept his team two goals to the good.
The next goal of the game was always going to be crucial and it was Forres who grabbed it in the 62nd minute as they clung to their Scottish Cup dream. Nairn failed to take advantage of a corner at one end and this allowed the hosts to counter-attack through Graeme Grant. His long ball out of defence set up a race between striker Charlie Brown and Nairn 'keeper Campbell with the Forres frontman coming out on top as he rounded Campbell before placing the ball into the unguarded net.
Amazingly the hosts drew themselves level only three minutes later. De Barros's whipped a flighted fre-kick into the Nairn box and somehow Brown was allowed the space to head home his second goal of the match from 12-yards.
The momentum all seemed to be with the home side by now and they looked odds on to go on and complete a remarkable comeback. But Nairn had other ideas as they showed remarkable spirit to go up another gear and leave the home side distraught.
County regained their lead in the 67th minute with Brooks being the hero as he rose highest in the box the meet a precision cross from Michael Sanderson at the back post to head home his first goal of the season to the relief and joy of the large and boisterous travelling support.
Any chance of a second Forres comeback was killed stone dead by Nairn in the 74th minute. Shallicker turned provider this time when he strugged off the attentions of Wayne Gaffney before firing a low ball across the Forres goal for substitute David MacRae to slide into the net for his second goal in as many substitute appearances.
County's day was blighted somewhat when defender-come-midfielder Neil MacDonald was dismised for his second booking of the game with ten minutes left for play. He will now miss the Quarter Final clash with Deveronvale on September 16.
The home side were also reduced to ten men though, when Gaffney was given his marching orders after elbowing County's MacRae in the face.
This professional and clincal display reaped it's rewards for the side as they avoided slipping into a complacent frame of mind that could so easily of been the case so soon after comprenhensively beating Forres by four goals a fortnight ago. The team now look forward to their reward of a Quarter Final match at home to Deveronvale where the winners will be rewarded with a place in the Scottish Cup proper, something Nairn haven't achieved since the 1985/86 season.
|John Campbell (GK)||26||3||-||18||-|
|David MacRae (sub)||-||3||3||72||39|
|Willie Barron (sub)||25||3||2||123||38|
|Scott Kellacher (sub)||25||3||-||122||51|
No league table has been added for this season.