IT WAS Legends Day at Station Park with the championship winning team from 1975/76 in attendance at the match and County marked the occasion by beating Fraserburgh 3-1 on a memorable day.
Jordan MacRae bagged all three of the Nairn goals and if the young striker enjoys more seasons like the one he is putting together this year then it will not be long before he joins the title winners in the club’s pantheon of greats.
Nairn have made a habit of starting games poorly recently and they almost went behind in the first minute. Daniel Hoban had to look sharp to touch Ryan Cowie’s right-footed swerver from the left-edge of the box over the crossbar before Bryan Hay headed the corner which followed over the top at the far post.
County should have had a penalty kick 11 minutes in but referee Filippo Mazzoni missed a shove on the back of Callum Maclean in the penalty area as the defender looked to connect with Adam Porritt’s free kick from deep.
Hoban then stood up well at his near post to make a solid block from Aidan Combe’s thumping close range drive from a tight angle on 14 minutes. Hay then had another free header at the far post off the corner which followed but Hoban and Glenn Main combined to clear the danger from the goal mouth.
Greg Buchan spun in behind the Nairn defence on 38 minutes before attempting to lift the ball over the head of Hoban from a tight angle on the left but the ball dropped just over the crossbar.
County found a way to goal three minutes before the interval. Dylan Mackenzie slipped the ball in for the unmarked Adam Porritt to run on to down the right. He had the time to take it under control and cut back on to his left foot before clipping in a cross that Jordan MacRae stooped to meet with a header which he directed past Fraserburgh goalkeeper Peter Tait for his 21st goal of the season.
The hosts almost added a second on 49 minutes when a great reverse flick by MacRae sent Dylan Mackenzie bearing down on goal from the right but he was denied by a superb one-handed block by Tait, who’s strong wrist repelled the County attacker’s effort.
But the home side doubled their lead on 54 minutes. Jordan MacRae showed good strength to shrug off Willie West before the Fraserburgh midfielder hauled the attacker to the deck. Referee Mazzoni pointed to the penalty spot and MacRae stepped up to place the ball home from 12 yards.
Fraserburgh should have pulled a goal back four minutes later. Aidan Combe rose in the box to win a header and intelligently directed the ball down into the stride of the unmarked Campbell but he stabbed his low volley from the left of goal past the far post.
Fraserburgh introduced attacking duo Graham Johnston and Gary Harris on 62 minutes and they almost combined to pull a goal back for the Broch three minutes later. Johnston saw a close range shot blocked by Hoban at his near post before Harris’s follow up was clutched by the on-loan stopper.
County won a free kick in a dangerous area on 71 minutes that Adam Porritt stepped up to and although he sent the ball over the wall from 20 yards, his effort whistled past the right-hand post.
The Broch continued to press and on 74 minutes, goalkeeper Tait launched a free kick from the halfway line wide on the left that was knocked back across goal at the far post to Lewis Davidson but his close range volley was clutched by Hoban.
Nairn should have killed the contest 10 minutes from the end. A great diagonal ball from the centre circle out to the left by Adam Porritt sent MacRae racing into the box down the left. He rode a challenge when he could have gone down and won a second penalty before picking out Ryan MacDonald at the front post. He squared to the unmarked Dylan Mackenzie but Tait spread himself superbly to keep out the attacker’s effort.
Just three minutes later, Fraserburgh pulled a goal back. Willie West rose highest in the box to meet Paul Young’s in-swinging delivery from the left with a glancing header that flashed into the far corner of the net.
The Broch piled bodies forward in search of an equaliser but County made the points safe with the last action of the game on 93 minutes. Ryan MacDonald slipped the ball forward for Jordan MacRae to run on to from the halfway line and he shrugged off a defender before racing in and slotting home beyond Tait.
Nairn County – Hoban, J. Maclean, K. McKenzie, Callum Maclean, Glenn Main, Porritt (yellow 88), MacDonald, Ramsay, D. Mackenzie (y 74) (Fernandino-Soto 81), MacRae, Ewan (Naismith 69). Subs unused: Highet, Maclennan, Ednie, McConaghy, D. Maclean (gk).
Fraserburgh – Tait, Davidson, Hay, R. Cowie, Rae, D. Cowie, G. Buchan (Harris 62), West (yellow 74), Campbell (Johnston 62), Young, Combe. Subs unused: Hannar, C. Buchan, Lawrence, Christie, Leask (gk).
Referee – Filippo Mazzoni.
Pictures by Donald Matheson