NAIRN County put in their best performance of the season in the eyes of manager Ronnie Sharp on what the boss described as a superb day at Station Park.
Jordan MacRae grabbed himself a hat-trick as he netted all three goals in a 3-1 home victory over Fraserburgh.
“It was probably our best win of the season,” stated Sharp. “It is the first win against a top six team this season. We defended really well when we had to and broke on them really well.
“We knew we were going to be under pressure. They are not in the top four for no reason and they are a good side.”
MacRae opened the scoring shortly before half time having stooped to head in a clipped delivery from the right.
Sharp added: “It was a great run by Adam Porritt down the wing and a good ball in followed by a great finish. That settled us down a bit because we had been chasing shadows to start with. After that, I thought we made quite a few chances. In the second half, Dylan Mackenzie had a couple of real good opportunities and their ‘keeper made some good blocks. But Jordan finished on a hat-trick, which was tremendous.”
MacRae’s second was from the penalty spot after he had been hauled down in the box by Willie West. It was the striker’s first successful conversion from 12 yards in three attempts having missed his last two.
“It was an excellent penalty,” Sharp said. “We have missed a few this year including Jordan himself and we needed that goal at that time to give us a wee cushion. It got a bit nervy towards the end but Jordan broke away again and showed great composure to put away a tremendous finish.”
County endured a nervy finale having conceded to a Willie West header which made it 2-1 with just under 10 minutes remaining.
Sharp confessed: “You always fear the worst in those types of situations. We could have easily been 3-0 up then we were under pressure at 2-1. Before that, I thought we were handling it easily defensively. Daniel (Hoban) in goal showed safe hands, which helped. It got nervy at 2-1 but it was excellent for Jordan to wrap it up right on time.”
Nairn were put under a lot of pressure throughout the 90 minutes with the Broch pushing hard when the game was goalless and again for a way back into the game having gone 2-0 down 10 minutes after the break.
But Nairn stood up to the challenge and Sharp said: “I thought the whole defence was excellent. We battled for everything in midfield too, challenging for every header and every second ball that came down getting blocks in. You have to do that against these good sides.”
The win capped a successful Legends Day at Station Park with members of the 1975/76 championship-winning squad in attendance at the match as guest of the club.
Sharp said: “It is tremendous. I know a few of the ex-players and it was great to have them here and to get the win. It would have been a disappointing day if we had not won so overall, it was a superb day.”