A POOR showing on Speyside from absentee-hit Nairn County saw Rothes exploit their cross-ball prowess to take all three points at MacKessack Park.
The visitors travelled with 10 first team players not fit enough to start and the hosts made them pay with all of their goals coming off deliveries from wide areas bar the first, which arrived with barely half-a-minute on the clock.
Jack Maley was allowed to drift into the Nairn box and after the hosts saw two efforts superbly blocked by County goalkeeper Daniel Hoban, Jaime Wilson was on hand to ram the ball into the roof of the net from a yard out.
Gary Kerr almost added a second for Rothes on eight minutes when he ran on to a flick on. But Hoban stood tall to make a great near post block off the centre forward’s angled drive from close range.
County were denied a penalty on 16 minutes when Rothes goalkeeper Darren McConnachie wiped out Max Ewan in the box but referee David Watt awarded the foul against the Nairn man.
McConnachie was then called into action eight minutes later when Max Ewan stepped inside from the left-edge of the penalty box and let fly with his right foot but the Rothes stopper jumped to clutch the ball from under the crossbar.
Max Ewan then headed a deep free kick from just inside the left touchline on the halfway line back across goal but the ball was just too high for Dylan Mackenzie to make a true connection with his head.
But it was Rothes who found the next goal of the game as they doubled their lead on 32 minutes. Daniel Moore cut back on to his right foot out on the left and sent over a cross that was crashed home by the head of Gary Kerr at the back post.
County halved the deficit on 39 minutes though. Max Ewan played the ball in from the left to Jordan MacRae at the edge of the penalty area and he had the time to lift his head and drill a low effort across McConnachie and into the net.
Nairn almost found a leveller two minutes after the restart after Ewan floated over a right-footed cross from the left but Ewen Urquhart’s header back across goal at the far post came back off the face of the crossbar with McConnachie beaten.
Tom Maclennan then went close for Nairn but his low 18-yard shot bounced just past the left-hand post.
Then, on 59 minutes, Ewen Urquhart got in behind the Rothes full back down the right but his cut back bobbled just in front of Dylan Mackenzie resulting in the forward miscuing his shot.
But despite the Nairn pressure, it was Rothes who grabbed the next goal of the game with their first attack of the half on the hour-mark. Dale Gillespie floated over a right-footed cross from the left and Jaime Wilson rose highest in the box to glance a header into the far corner.
Referee David Watt then opted not to show Rothes full back Blair Maclennan his second yellow card of the game despite the former Inverness CT youngster shoving Cohen Ramsay to the deck after a foul by the Nairn man on 61 minutes.
Rothes added their fourth goal of the game on 67 minutes to kill the contest. A free kick into the Nairn box from the left was headed out by Callum Maclean but Dale Wood was unmarked to step on and blast a rising volley into the top left-hand corner.
Rothes – McConnachie, Macleod, Wood, Maley (Brown 63), Milne, Maclennan (yellow 58), Duncan (Rennie 63), Gillespie, Kerr (Davidson 63), Wilson, Moore. Subs unused: Cormack, Donaldson (gk).
Nairn County – Hoban, Porritt, J. Maclean (yellow 73), Callum Maclean, Glenn Main, Ramsay, Urquhart, Maclennan (y 86), D. Mackenzie (Fernandino-Soto 69), MacRae, Ewan. Subs unused: Ednie, Cuthbert, MacBean, Cameron Maclean, D. Maclean (gk).
Referee – David Watt.
Pictures by Donald Matheson