IT has been eleven weeks since Nairn County were in home action and the team is set to finally return to Station Park for their first home match of 2018 as they welcome Lossiemouth in the first round of the Highland League (Morganti) Cup.
Few would have thought that when County took all three points from Buckie Thistle with a 4-1 victory over the Jags on November 25th that it would be so long before the side’s next home game and in that period, there has been a defeat at Clachnacuddin and wins at Wick Academy in the preliminary round of this competition, Huntly and tomorrow’s opponents as well as another draw at Wick on league business.
The win at Huntly last weekend came in dramatic fashion with Nairn overturning a 1-0 deficit to lead the nine-man hosts by two goals to one going into the final 10 minutes before a Jordan MacRae missed penalty and a goal for the home side in the 90th minute looked to have snatched a draw against all of the odds. But County refused to give in and earned themselves another spot-kick, which was hammered home by Glenn Main to take all three points in a 3-2 win.
Another 3-2 victory in similar circumstances came away at County’s opponents in this tie when the two sides met on league business on December 16th. Nairn trailed twice with Lossie scoring either side of Adam Porritt’s strike to lead 2-1 before Gary Kerr levelled it and then then won it in injury time with what turned out to be his final goal for the club.
Since that match, Iain MacRae’s men won comfortably against Turriff United and although they suffered a home defeat to Formartine United, they bounced back impressively to take all three point from a home meeting with Keith as they won 3-2. The Coasters will take confidence from that result as they come to Station Park looking to claim a place in the quarter finals of the competition.
You can follow live updates from Station Park on facebook.com/nairncountyfc and @NairnCounty on Twitter with coverage of all of the major talking points as the game progresses, a report on the final whistle and reaction from the Nairn camp in the evening. Also, do not forget to follow the club’s new Instagram page @nairncountyfc for all the behind the scenes updates from Station Park. Meanwhile, a preview of the match is below:
Date: Saturday February 10th 2018
Competition: Highland League (Morganti) Cup First Round
Manager: Iain MacRae
Venue: Station Park, Nairn
Previous meeting: Lossiemouth 2 Nairn County 3 December 16th 2017
Last time out: Huntly 2 Nairn County 3; Lossiemouth 3 Keith 2
League position: Wick Academy 14th Nairn County 12th
Form guides: Nairn County WLWDWW Lossiemouth LWLWLW
Team news: Ronnie Sharp’s squad is along similar lines to last weekend’s 3-2 win at Huntly. That means Gregg Main and Callum Ednie are the only absentees through a knee injury and pulled hamstring respectively, with the latter closing in on a return to light training while club captain Main prepares to ramp up his rehabilitation work. Joe Cuthbert and Cameron Maclean have featured in the first team squad lately but they will be involved with the under-20s in their Jock Mackay Cup tie against Lewis & Harris in Dingwall on Saturday lunchtime, so will not be considered for this tie.
One to watch: Ryan Farquhar. The attacking midfielder’s performances and goal-scoring exploits for the Coasters has attracted the attentions of several Highland League clubs lately. The visitors to Station Park will view this as an opportunity to make it through into the last eight of the competition and Farquhar’s attacking prowess from the middle of the park will be one of their main assets as they look to progress to the quarter finals with a victory. Farquhar has the ability to supplement the Lossie attack which has the potential to cause Nairn problems defensively and preventing him from having an influence on the match will significantly boost the home side’s chances of emerging victorious.
Match officials: Referee Billy Baxter, Assistants David Alexander and Barry Stuart.
Weather forecast: Sunny intervals 6 degrees 11 mph wind.
Admission prices: Adults £8 Concessions £5 (season tickets not valid).