BOTH goals came in the first half but it was an all-action final quarter-of-an-hour as Nairn County and Fraseburgh battled out a 1-1 draw at Station Park, writes Graeme Macleod.
Ryan Christie's early opener was cancelled out by Gregg Main just before half time. And after a tame first 30 minutes of the second half, the return of Tony Wallace and the introduction of Paul Macleod to an unorthodox right midfield position saw things spark into life leading to a thrilling finale.
Fraserburgh made the ideal start to the game with the opening goal just a minute in. A cross from the left was not cleared and Ryan Christie stepped on to rifle a half-volley into Calum Antell's top right hand corner to break the deadlock with a stunning strike.
County nearly responded immediately but Gregg Main's effort from 20 yards out on the right of the box bounced across goal and past the post.
The visitors were denied a second goal by a superb Antell save on 16 minutes. Paul Campbell advanced in on goal as he ran on to a flick from a Fraserburgh goal kick but with the Nairn defenders watching, the County number one made himself big to deny the Broch forward with a superb save.
The Broch threatened again as Steven Davidson shaped himself to get on the end of a cross from the left with a volley as he was falling backwards but again the visitors were denied by the excellent Antell.
County looked to level when a great Ross Naismith flick took him in behind a centre half but he was brushed off the ball by a covering defender at the expense of a corner. The set piece from the right was headed on by a Broch defender at the front post but hacked clear by the man on the far post.
Antell then prevented Fraserburgh from adding their second of the evening. Bryan Hay was free to rise in the six-yard box and meet a corner kick in from the left but County's stopper again showed his class as he threw himself to his left to make the block and keep the deficit at just one.
A goal out of nothing drew County level on 38 minutes. Lone striker Alan Pollock took the ball down wide on the left and after advancing towards the edge of the box, he played the ball square for Gregg Main to step on to. The midfielder took a touch inside from the right before smashing an unstoppable effort beyond Joe Barbour in the Broch goal with his left foot from 22 yards out.
Nairn started the second half well but Dean Cowie's swerving free kick across goal and over the bar from the left led to the Broch imposing themselves and it was the visitors who continued to threaten as the match approached the hour mark.
Cowie was again at the heart of things on 62 minutes but his 22-yard grounder was easily held by Antell.
Tony Wallace came off the bench for Nairn on 76 minutes and he was immediately involved. The former Morton attacker ran on to a ball over the top from the right and advanced in on goal before seeing his low, left-footed drive from six yards out blocked by the legs of Joe Barbour in the Broch goal.
This gave Nairn a lift and Sam Urquhart was next to foray forward on 78 minutes. He out-stripped the Broch defence for pace but after doing everything right as he advanced in on goal, he smashed the ball over the crossbar with just Barbour to beat.
A neat move involving Paul Macleod, Urquhart and Wallace saw the latter tee up Kenny McKenzie but his tame effort was held by Barbour on 88 minutes.
Nairn County - Antell, Webb, R. Naismith (Morrison 46), Pollock (Wallace 76), Gregg Main (yellow 86), Urquhart, A. Naismith, C. Maclean, Glenn Main, Cameron (P. Macleod 83), McKenzie. Subs unused: Mackintosh, Skinner, D. Maclean (gk).
Fraserburgh - Barbour, Dickson, McBride, Cowie, R. Christie (Noble 81), Hay, D. Cowie, West, Davidson (Johnston 71), Campbell, Rae (Combe 61). Subs unused: Taylor, Buchan, Finn (gk).
Referee - Alan Hogg.