A SCRAPPY Kyle Macleod goal in the first half was enough for Brora Rangers to take all three points at Station Park.
Brora extended the contract of goalkeeper Joe Malin recently and he repaid a big instalment of that outlay with a stunning save on nine minutes. The Cattachs number one threw himself to his left to tip away Jordan MacRae’s net-bound piledriver from 22 yards just outside the left-edge of the box.
The visitors went in front 17 minutes in. Scott Graham’s deep cross from out on the right was headed back across goal by Steven Mackay at the far post for Kyle Macleod to nod in from close range.
Then, eight minutes later, Gavin Morrison’s free kick from deep on the right was punched by Ryan Macleod but only as far as Scott Graham who sent a shot over the crossbar from just inside the box.
Brora attacker Macleod felt aggrieved not to have added his second of the game on 52 minutes when he ran on to a clipped ball over the Nairn defence and headed past Ryan Macleod only to be flagged offside.
Macleod went close again three minutes later but his glancing header from close range off Morrison’s corner from the left flashed past the far post.
County responded with a quick break on the hour-mark with Dylan Mackenzie running at Mark Nicolson before trying to square the ball for the supporting Ryan MacDonald. But the young attacker’s pass was slightly behind the midfielder and he was crowded out, with the loose ball dropping to Tom Maclennan, who blasted well over from 22 yards.
Macleod was close to adding his second again 65 minutes in but his back post header off a cross from the left was touched on to the crossbar by his namesake in the Nairn goal.
MacRae turned Nicolson at the edge of the box on 79 minutes but his powerful angled drive was beaten behind by Malin at his near post.
The visitors went down to 10 men with eight minutes left on the clock after Steven Mackay received a second yellow card for dissent. But Brora saw the game out as Nairn ran out of time in their quest for an equaliser.
Nairn County – R. Macleod, Porritt, K. McKenzie, Callum Maclean, Glenn Main, Ramsay, MacDonald, Naismith (Maclennan 17 (yellow 85)), D. Mackenzie (Ewan 77), MacRae, Urquhart (J. Maclean 77). Subs unused: McConaghy, Cuthbert, Cameron Maclean, D. Maclean (gk).
Brora Rangers – Malin (yellow 90+1), Ross, Mackay (y 33, 83), Duff, Nicolson, Morrison, Maclean (y 65), Graham (Macrae 90), Macleod (Campbell 77), Lisle (Wilson 67), Brindle. Subs unused: Tokely, Counsell (gk).
Referee – Harry Bruce.
Pictures by Donald Matheson