GREGG Main and Dylan Mackenzie were both at the double as Nairn County put on another free-scoring display to defeat North Region Juniors Division 1 (West) side Burghead Thistle at the picturesque setting of the Jags’ Forest Park home.
County took just two minutes to open the scoring. Gregg Main provided the feed with a through pass and a Burghead defender lost his footing in his attempt to clear the danger. That left Jordan MacRae with a free run at goal and the striker rolled the ball under Burghead goalkeeper, Aidan Macdonald.
It was roles reserved six minutes later as Nairn doubled their advantage. Gregg Main made a superb angled run across the front pass to run on to MacRae’s slide-rule pass and the skipper managed to pivot and finish in one movement, as he drilled a low effort across Macdonald from eight yards.
Main went back to providing the supply as Nairn made it three just 12 minutes in. He whipped across an out-swinging free kick from wide on the right and Dylan Mackenzie rose to guide an excellent looping header across Macdonald and in at the far post from 10 yards.
Nairn goalkeeper James Kendall then had to backpedal and collect Cameron More’s deep cross from the right at the second attempt on 18 minutes before Callum Maclean sent Max Ewan to the by-line on the left at the other end two minutes later. The County attacker clipped over a cross which Dylan Mackenzie turned into the side netting at the far post from just a few yards out.
Gregg Main then saw a low free kick deflect on to the post from 20 yards on 29 minutes then a minute later, MacRae was bundled over in the penalty box for a spot kick. Gregg Main completed the job from 12 yards as he blasted home for his second of the night.
More looked lively for the hosts and he ran at the Nairn defence with Burghead looking to counter but he could only direct his 22-yard shot over the crossbar on 32 minutes. Then, five minutes later, Adam Porritt was unlucky to see his dipping effort from 20 yards drop inches over the crossbar.
Porritt was involved as Nairn made it five on 40 minutes. His cross from the left was controlled by MacRae, who looked to be crowded out with his back to goal in the penalty area. He managed to nudge the ball out of his feet though and find Dylan Mackenzie, with the young striker blasting high into the net from 12 yards out.
There was time before the break for County to net a sixth with Gregg Main standing the ball up from the by-line on the right for Max Ewan to meet with a header as the teenager rose to send the ball looping back across Macdonald before dropping just inside the right-hand post.
It was all-change for County at the interval with Ronnie Sharp making nine changes to his team. And it was the home side who were first to go close to altering the score line with trialist’s 47th-minute free kick from wide on the left clipping the base of substitute goalkeeper Dylan Maclean’s far post.
But Nairn made it seven with 20 minutes of the second half gone. Ewen Urquhart did superbly well to find a way to the by-line on the left before showing great composure to cut the ball back to the on-rushing Cohen Ramsay. And with one sweep of the midfielder’s left boot, the ball was in the back of the net as he despatched a cool effort from 10 yards out at the near post.
Ramsay almost turned provider on 73 minutes but the stretching Danny Highet could not quite make enough contact with the former Ross County youngster’s delivery to turn it past Macdonald, with the ‘keeper gathering.
But Nairn rounded off the scoring with their eighth goal of the night 15 minutes from the end. Tom Maclennan’s low cross from the right looked to find Danny Highet and although the home defence thought they had prevented the danger by intercepting the ball before the County forward was able to get a shot away, they have not reckoned for the late arrival of Ewen Urquhart, as he fastened on to the loose ball to drill a low effort under Macdonald for his first goal in a Nairn shirt.
Burghead Thistle – Macdonald, Paterson (Campbell 70), Kennedy, Smith, Wood (Trialist 58), Trialist Davidson (Gray 58), Gordon, Stewart, More, Trialist (Nicol 70). Subs unused: Stewart.
Nairn County – Kendall (D. Maclean 46), Naismith (Trialist 46), K. McKenzie (Ednie 46), Callum Maclean, Glenn Main (Munro 46), Porritt, MacDonald (Maclennan 46), MacRae (Highet 46), D. Mackenzie (Urquhart 46), Gregg Main (J. Maclean 46), Ewan (Ramsay 46). Subs unused - .
Referee – Harry Bruce.