DEFENSIVE frailties were exposed by Buckie Thistle at Station Park as Nairn County found themselves 7-0 down before battling back to restore some pride in a battling final 20 minutes.
The Jags took less than a minute to break the deadlock. Chris Moir's pass infield from the right was nicked away by Kevin Fraser, who raced down the line and put a dangerous cross into the box. It was cleared but only as far as Lewis MacKinnon, whose looped ball over the County backline was ran on to by Chris Angus, with the Jags midfielder able to deftly knock the bouncing ball beyond Dylan Maclean.
The visitors came close to doubling their lead on eight minutes. Calum Riddell cleared a corner from the right to Hamish Munro and his powerful first time drive from 22 yards flashed across goal and past the far post by a matter of inches.
The second goal arrived on 13 minutes though. Ceiran McLean swung in a right-footed free kick from the left for Craig Dorrat to meet as he rose above the Nairn defence and glanced the ball into the bottom right corner.
County were denied a penalty on 25 minutes when Lewis MacKinnon came through the back of Chris Moir in the Jags box but referee Liam Duncan signalled for play to continue.
Chris Angus grabbed his second of the afternoon on 31 minutes as Buckie continued to assert their supremacy. Kevin Fraser intercepted a pass in the middle of the park and played a neat through pass for Chris Angus to run on to and he coolly rolled the ball through the legs of the advancing Maclean.
It was four with three minutes of the first half remaining in dubious circumstances. Wayne Mackintosh was bizarrely penalised for a foul despite being on the end of a sliding challenge on the halfway line. Stephen Mackenzie then handled the high ball in the air as he swept into the penalty area and Chris Angus stepped up to stroke home from the penalty spot for his hat trick.
The former Nairn duo of Andrew Skinner and Sam Urquhart combined for Buckie's fifth of the afternoon three minutes after the break. Skinner's deep cross from the right was met by a stooping header from Sam Urquhart at the far post as he crashed the ball beyond Maclean.
Two goals in three minutes added to Nairn's misery. Stuart Taylor turned home John McLeod's low ball into the penalty area on 65 minutes to add number six before Sam Urquhart bent home his second of the afternoon from 15 yards.
Nairn found their way on to the scoresheet on 72 minutes. Gary Kerr was tripped inside the penalty area and he stepped up to stroke home the resulting penalty himself.
Three minutes later, the hosts added another. Glenn Main's free kick into the box from deep in the left was met by Kerr as he challenge goalkeeper Ross Salmon. That saw the ball drop to the far post and Jason Morganti was there to prod home the bouncing ball.
The hosts added another on 79 minutes from a second penalty. Kerr chased a long ball through which Iain Macrae handled as he attempted to usher it back to his goalkeeper. The referee awarded a penalty that was smashed home by Gary Kerr
Buckie were then reduced to 10 men when Iain Macrae was shown a straight red card for foul abusive language towards the referee.
The Jags should have seen themselves light of another player in injury time for a potentially leg-breaking challenge by Craig Dorrat on Paul Macleod in front of the stand. The referee only showed the defender a yellow card and from the resulting free kick, the Jags broke away and bagged their eighth goal of the game.
Glenn Main's delivery into the box was cleared and with County piling bodies forward, they were caught short at the back as John McLeod was allowed to run through and smash the ball into the top left corner from 10 yards.
Nairn County - D. Maclean, S. Mackenzie, P. Macleod (yellow 90+1), Riddell, Mackintosh (y 10), Naismith (Morganti 46), C. Maclean, Kerr, Moir (Macrae 83), Mackay (D. Mackenzie 21), Glenn Main. Subs: Barton, J. Maclean, R. Macleod (gk).
Buckie Thistle - Salmon, Skinner, MacKinnon (yellow 37) (Macrae 60) (yellow 79) (red 80), Munro, Dorrat (y 90+1), McLean, Fraser (Copeland 69), Taylor, Macleod, Angus (Low 60), Urquhart. Subs: Carrol, Cheyne, Wood, Sim (gk).
Referee - Liam Duncan
Pictures by Donald Matheson