AN IMPRESSIVE late cameo from Sam Urquhart helped Nairn County to ease into the second round of the William Hill Scottish Cup, writes Graeme Macleod.
The striker came off the bench with Nairn leading 3-1 to add a further two goals as County disposed of their Lowland League opponents, who were 1-0 up in the first half and level at the break.
There were two changes to the County team with Wayne Mackintosh and Gregg Main missing out as Andrew Skinner and Bradley Halsman returned to the starting eleven. Jordan Macrae and Matthew Macleod were named among the substitutes.
After some early Nairn pressure, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock on 17 minutes. Murray Christie’s in-swinging corner from the right was headed clear by Andrew Skinner at the front post but the loose ball dropped perfectly for Jack Hay to arrow a half-volley from 20 yards into the bottom right corner of the net.
But County were back on level terms 11 minutes later. Michael Morrison flicked the ball with the outside of his left boot at the halfway line through to Conor Gethins on the right. The striker drove in on goal and just when it appeared as he was about to pull the trigger, he lifted his head and rolled the ball to his left for the on-rushing Alan Pollock to crash into the net from six yards out at the far post.
Morrison was the source of Nairn’s next attack on 31 minutes. His diagonal ball out to the right found John Cameron who fed Gethins but the usually lethal striker fired wide from 10 yards out.
County then broke forward with a lightning counter attack on 34 minutes. Calum Antell bowled the ball out to Pollock who flew down the left wing beating two players on his way only to see his low, angled shot parried by goalkeeper Jamie Newman with the rebound falling just behind Gethins.
Nairn’s top scorer was then teed up by Cameron with a pass inside from the right on 37 minutes but his first time strike flew across goal and missed the top corner by a matter of inches.
The visitors had the first chance of the second half four minutes after the restart when a cross from the right was laid off by Frazer Neave to Garry O’Connor but the former Scotland striker’s side-footed effort was high and wide.
A minute later, goal-scorer Hay drove in from the right and screwed a low effort back across Antell’s goal which trickled just past the right-hand upright.
But two goals in as many minutes swung the tie in County’s favour. Glenn Main drove forward and won a free kick on the edge of the box. After some ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ between Alan Pollock and Conor Gethins, it was the latter who won the right to take the set piece and the striker stepped up to send a low effort round the ball and into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Then, just a minute later, the hosts put daylight between the sides and again Main was at the heart of it as he advanced to the edge of the box and slipped the ball into Alan Pollock coming in from the left. The midfielder took a touch with his right foot to take the ball past a defender and shift it on to his left before he directed a pinpoint low effort across Newman and in.
A fantastic free kick from Jon McInally 22 yards out on the left edge of the penalty area dipped and swerved over the wall before bouncing off the crossbar with Antell beaten.
County wrapped up the win 13 minutes from time when Pollock picked up a slack Selkirk pass at the back and raced forward before he saw his low drive parried by Newman. But substitute Sam Urquhart was on hand to knock in the rebound.
The substitute added his second of the game with three minutes to go. County sprung the Selkirk offside trap as Bradley Halsman’s through ball sent Sam Urquhart racing towards goal. Ross Naismith went around the forward on the overlap allowing Urquhart to take a step to his right and get the ball out of his feet before crashing the ball beyond Newman.
Nairn County – Antell, P. Macleod, Morrison, Pollock, Gethins (R. Naismith 85), Halsman, Skinner (yellow 90+1), A. Naismith, Duncanson (Urquhart 73), Glenn Main, Cameron (McKenzie 77). Subs unused: Webb, McKenzie, Macrae, M. Macleod, D. Maclean (gk).
Selkirk – Newman, Pyper, McDiarmid (Ritchie 77), Hartley, Christie, Heave, Reynolds (Addison 61), Gray, McInally, O’Connor (Collin 84), Hay. Subs unused: Samson, Scott, Handren, Stewart.
Referee – Chris Phillips.
Pictures by Donald Matheson