A CONTROVERSIAL red card for goalkeeper Calum Antell was the catalyst for Brora Rangers to run riot at Station Park as 10-man Nairn County were hit for seven, writes Graeme Macleod.
Skipper Michael Morrison came back into the starting eleven with Sam Urquhart dropping down to the bench in the only change to the team which won 2-0 at Keith on Saturday.
County fashioned the first opening of the evening with Conor Gethins latching on to Robbie Duncanson’s flick at the left edge of the box to send a dipping volley flashing narrowly past the far post.
The hosts went even closer to opening the scoring four minutes later when an in-swinging Gethins free kick glanced off the crossbar on its way over the top.
Zander Sutherland stung the palms of the diving Calum Antell with a 25-yard drive in the visitors’ first attempt on goal with Brora opening the scoring from the corner kick which followed. Gavin Morrison whipped in an inviting ball to the near post where Steven Mackay had timed his run to arrive unmarked and bullet a header beyond Antell 11 minutes in.
Former County striker Scotty Graham then flicked a long ball on for Paul Brindle but the Brora forward’s angled, left-footed drive on 24 minutes bounced across goal and past the far post.
It was another former Nairn player who doubled Brora’s lead on 57 minutes. Gavin Morrison rolled a free kick square to Dale Gillespie, who arrowed an unstoppable drive into Antell’s bottom right hand corner from 25 yards.
The result was put beyond doubt midway through the second half. Calum Antell was judged to have fouled Mackay in the penalty area and although the Brora captain’s touch took him away from goal, referee Mat Northcroft brandished the red card. Dylan Maclean came on for a debut to replace Duncanson and had to pick the ball out of the net as Richard Brittain scored from the penalty spot.
Maclean was again beaten as Zander Sutherland cut in from the right and rolled the ball under the young Nairn stopper from a tight angle to make it four. And it was five for the visitors on 77 minutes as a long ball over the top caught Nairn short at the back allowing Paul Brindle in to round Maclean and blast into the empty net.
Paul Brindle had his second of the night when he chased down a Michael Morrison throw-in back to Maclean and nicked the ball off the goalkeeper to walk in his second of the night before Paul Brindle clipped home Brora’s seventh of the evening to complete his hat trick.
Nairn got off the mark on 88 minutes when Alan Pollock saw his shot charged down with the ball dropping to John Cameron for him to fire a low drive across Joe Malin and into the bottom corner.
Nairn County – Antell (red 67), P. Macleod (yellow 47) (Pollock 71), Morrison, Gethins (y 86), Gregg Main (y 83), Halsman (Webb 46), Skinner, A. Naismith, Duncanson (D. Maclean 67), Glenn Main, Cameron. Subs unused: Mackintosh, R. Naismith, Urquhart, C. Maclean.
Brora Rangers – Malin, Brittain (Williamson 70), Macdonald, Munro (yellow 84), Houston, Gillespie, Graham, Morrison (y 26) (Maclean 70), Sutherland (Grieg 71), Mackay (y 35), Brindle. Subs: Kettlewell, Porritt, Grant, Martin (gk).
Referee: Mat Northcroft.
Pictures by Donald Matheson