COUNTY boss Les Fridge feels that all goalkeepers who concede penalty kicks will now have to be automatically sent off having seen his stopper Calum Antell walk in last night’s 7-1 defeat to Brora Rangers, writes Graeme Macleod.
Nairn trailed 2-0 at the time and although the visitors were in control of the game, the subsequent collapse did not look on the cards prior to Antell’s dismissal.
Young goalkeeper Dylan Maclean came on for a debut and the first thing he had to do was pick the ball out of the net as Richard Brittain added Brora’s third from the penalty spot to put the outcome beyond any semblance of doubt before Zander Sutherland netted a fourth and Paul Brindle notched a five-minute hat trick.
The County boss spoke to the club website after the match and when asked whether Antell’s red card was the reason for his side’s late capitulation, he said: “Without a doubt. I thought it was a penalty but I did not think it was a sending off. Young Dylan came on and it was a baptism of fire for him because everything they hit seemed to go in.”
He added: “I thought we started the second half well when we were 1-0 down. We lost the second goal though and that was against the run of play prior to Calum being sent off.
“It was a penalty and the foul was committed inside the box but if it denied a goal-scoring opportunity then every goalkeeper who gives away a penalty has to be sent off now. I am not disputing the fact it was a penalty but in my view, it was certainly not a red card.”
The hosts started the game well at Station Park fashioning the first few opportunities in front of goal before Steven Mackay was presented with a free header from a Gavin Morrison corner kick to open the scoring. It was the ex-Nairn attacker’s first goal against his former club at the eighth attempt and the sixth set piece goal Brora had scored out of the last seven they had put past County.
The hosts steadied the ship though after Brora had dominated possession in the aftermath of the goal and made a competitive start to the second half prior to the Cattachs doubling their advantage through Dale Gillespie’s piledriver, with another set piece again proving to be the source of Nairn’s undoing.
Fridge stated: “We started the game well enough and I thought we started the second half well too. Up until the second goal, we looked good and were doing OK. We then had Calum sent off and it is hard enough against Brora with 11 men but when you are down to 10 men and your goalkeeper has been sent off then you are always going to struggle.
“The first goal was from a set piece and we had a warning just before it, so to lose a goal in that manner was disappointing. The second goal came from a set piece as well and we should have been more switched on. That was disappointing too.”
The County manager will now attempt to lift morale in the camp and return to winning ways with a difficult away fixture at Fraserburgh on Saturday.
He said: “We will be in training tomorrow night and we will take a look at things there and pick ourselves up to go to Fraserburgh on Saturday.”