BOTH sides finished with 10 men as Nairn County U20s winning run came to end with a tired-looking performance against a slick Brora Rangers at Station Park.
Cammy Sutherland was sent off in the first half for the visitors for two bookings after Niall Docherty had struck a Brora double and Nairn’s hopes of a comeback disappeared with Callum Ednie’s second half dismissal.
After half chances at either end early on, it was the visitors who found the opener 13 minutes in. Ben Campbell showed his pace as he raced down the right before pulling the ball back from the by-line to the unmarked Niall Docherty. And he struck a crisp, first time drive beyond Fraser Wilkie in the Nairn goal from 10 yards out.
Docherty needed a slice of luck to double his tally on 29 minutes. Ally MacRae advanced down the left and picked out Niall Docherty with his cut back. He took a touch to set himself before seeing his shot take a slight deflection to wrong foot Wilkie, with the ball flying past the goalkeeper and into the net.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men on 35 minutes with Cammy Sutherland collecting a second yellow card for deliberate handball as he illegally halted a promising Nairn break having taken out Seamus McConaghy for his first caution 12 minutes previously.
And from the free kick that followed, Cameron Maclean was inches away from pulling a goal back but his looping effort struck the top of the crossbar with Counsell beaten.
Campbell slalomed his way into the Nairn box a minute into the second half but his attempted dink beyond Wilkie was blocked by the out-stretched arm of the County goalkeeper.
Then, on 49 minutes, Docherty was inches away from wrapping up his hat trick with a long-range effort from 30 yards that clipped the top of the crossbar on its way over.
The numbers were evened up on 63 minutes with Callum Ednie receiving a second caution for persistent fouling having been booked midway through the first half for a scything challenge.
Nairn County – Wilkie, Cuthbert, Jack W. Maclean, Munro, Wheeler (Barron 50), Cameron Maclean (yellow 31) (Campbell 63), Eadie (Mitchell 46), Ednie (y 20, 52), Geddes (Young 46), McConaghy, Payne (Morrison 64). Subs unused: -.
Brora Rangers – Counsell, Ross, A. MacRae, Sutherland (yellow 23, 35), C. MacRae, Patterson, Webster (Griffiths 83), Calder, Campbell (y 57) (Urquhart 57), Docherty, Mackay (Davie 73). Subs unused -.
Referee – Gordon Seago.