A DEFENSIVE capitulation late in the first half took this game away from Nairn County as Fraserburgh netted three goals in four minutes to put the game beyond the visitors before the interval.
Nairn had led at one point but went from level pegging with less than five minutes of the first half remaining to three goals behind when they returned to the dressing room as the County roof caved in.
That settled the outcome and County never looked like turning it around in a second half bossed by the hosts.
Paul Campbell headed a Lewis Davidson cross from right wide of the far post in the first minute before Callum Maclean dragged a Dylan Mackenzie knockdown off Gregg Main’s corner from the left wide of the near post two minutes later as both teams exchanged early half chances.
Nairn then took the lead eight minutes in. Adam Naismith’s cross from the right was plucked out of the air by the boot of Adam Porritt at the near side of the box and from 18 yards, he blasted a shot into the net off the inside of the far post.
Fraserburgh came close to equalising nine minutes later thanks to some superb trickery from Scott Barbour as he weaved in from the left. But his low shot was diverted behind for a corner by the legs of Nairn goalkeeper, James Kendall. The resulting set piece was only half cleared with Paul Young stepping on to the loose ball to arrow a half-volley inches past the left-hand post.
But the hosts found a leveller on 25 minutes. Paul Campbell took a fine first touch to take Young’s through pass in his stride before cutting inside Callum Maclean and stroking the ball beyond Kendall.
Nairn were inches away from re-establishing their lead 12 minutes later when Porritt flicked the ball on to Mackenzie down the inside right channel. He blasted a volley across goal that goalkeeper Peter Tait got the slightest of touches to, with the ball rattling back off the inside of the far post. Fraserburgh then went up the park with Lewis Davidson picking out Campbell at the back post with a cross from the right but he was denied a second goal by a Fraser Dingwall block.
But the Broch put the game beyond doubt with three goals in four disastrous minutes for Nairn in the dying embers of the first half. The hosts took the lead on 42 minutes off a throw-in from their left that was only half cleared by Nairn, with Michael Rae stepping on to the loose ball 25 yards from goal and rifling a rising effort into the top right-hand corner of the net.
Then, on 45 minutes, Kendall missed Ryan Cowie’s in-swinging corner from the right with Kieran Simpson rising highest in the box to crash a header into the net. And a minute into injury time, Cowie’s low cross from the left was diverted beyond Kendall at the near post by the sliding Scott Barbour.
The hosts almost started the second half as they had ended the first but Greg Buchan blasted straight at Kendall from 10 yards out at the far post after being unmarked to meet a ball in from the left.
The woodwork prevented Nairn from falling further behind on 53 minutes. Cowie smashed a free kick from 30 yards out with his left foot over the wall and off the underside of the crossbar.
But Fraserburgh added a fifth goal just two minutes later. Barbour delivered a low cross from the left and Paul Campbell was unmarked in the middle to be left with the simplest of tasks as he tapped home his second of the day.
Nairn failed to lay a glove on the home side throughout the second half and the hosts were allowed to add a sixth goal 10 minutes from time. Substitute Cameron Buchan pulled the ball back from the by-line on the right to the arriving Sean Butcher and although Kendall got a touch to the striker’s first time shot, it nested in the bottom corner.
Then, a minute later, Scott Barbour was in an offside position to control a ball forward, prompting the farside linesman to raise his flag and the Nairn defence to stop. But referee Greg Soutar inexplicably overruled his assistant, allowing the Broch winger to nonchalantly clip the ball over the static Kendall, who thought the Fraserburgh was knocking back to him to take the free kick.
Fraserburgh – Tait, Davidson, Hay, R. Cowie, Simpson, Rae (yellow 19), Rennie (Combe 64), Young, Campbell (Butcher 70), G. Buchan (C. Buchan 78), Barbour. Subs unused: West, Mowatt (gk),
Nairn County – Kendall, Dingwall (yellow 68), Callum Maclean, Glenn Main, Naismith, Ramsay (Urquhart 51), Maclennan, Porritt (y 53), Gregg Main, D. Mackenzie (McConaghy 78), Ewan. Subs unused: Fernandino-Soto, MacDonald, Highet, Munro, Wilkie (gk).
Referee – Greg Soutar.
Pictures by Donald Matheson