A PENALTY kick from Artjoms Kuznecovs condemned 10-man Nairn County to a battling defeat after Michael Morrison had been sent off for a second bookable offence just before half time, writes Graeme Macleod.
It was an unchanged County team that took to the field with only Gregg Main returning to the squad after suspension to take a place on the bench with Andrew Skinner unavailable.
The home side were on the attack from the off with Gary McGowan getting in behind Paul Macleod on the left but he fired his shot from a tight angle into the side netting with team mates positioned for a cutback.
Andrew MacAskill went even closer for Turriff two minutes later with a curling free kick from the right edge of the box but a fine diving save by Calum Antell denied the midfielder.
A great piece of skill by Sam Urquhart gave Nairn their first sight of goal on 17 minutes. Robbie Duncanson’s ball over the top sent the striker scampering down the right. With no options on in the middle, he showed a great piece of skill to cut inside a defender on to his left foot but his thunderous drive flew narrowly over the crossbar.
Nairn continued to apply the pressure and were on the attack again three minutes later. The ball was worked through to Glenn Main and his scuffed effort evaded Turriff goalkeeper Kevin Main but took a slight deflection to take it away from goal.
Alan Pollock then played the ball out to Adam Naismith on the right with the midfielder continuing his run into the box to meet the wing back’s return with a header that went just over the bar.
Robbie Duncanson drew a fine diving save out of Main on 34 minutes with a low shot from the edge of the box after a Pollock corner from the left had only been partially cleared at the front post with the United ‘keeper diving to his right to parry the Nairn striker’s shot.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men though with Michael Morrison receiving his marching orders on 42 minutes for a foul on the halfway line. It was a second booking for the County captain having been yellow carded for a foul on the edge of the box 21 minutes into the game.
The home side almost took advantage on the stroke of half time but Allan MacKenzie’s header off a corner from the left was inches too high.
The woodwork prevented Turriff from opening the scoring 57 minutes in. Paul Young’s pinpoint through pass sent Nikolas Wozniak in on Calum Antell but the substitute’s clipped effort over the advancing stopper skimmed the crossbar on its way over the top.
Andrew MacAskill’s low delivery from a corner on the right 66 minutes in was met on the volley by Artjoms Kuznecovs at the front post but Antell was equal to the centre half’s effort.
The hosts finally found a way through with 19 minutes left. Alan Pollock was caught in possession on the right edge of the Nairn box after County had thwarted a Turriff attack. Paul Macleod then dived in to foul Craig MacAskill in the area and Artjoms Kuznecovs hammered the penalty kick into the bottom left hand corner of the net to earn the points for Turriff.
Turriff United – Main, Davidson, Allan, MacKenzie (Nowosielski 59), Bowden, Kuznecovs, McKenna, Young, Gray (Wozniak 52 (yellow 67)), A. MacAskill, McGowan (C. MacAskill 76). Subs unused: Herd, Mair, Smith, O'Brien (gk).
Nairn County – Antell, Webb, P. Macleod (yellow 70), Morrison (y 21, 42), Mackintosh (Gregg Main 57), Pollock (Cameron 79), Gethins, Urquhart, A. Naismith, Duncanson (R. Naismith 89), Glenn Main. Subs unused: Halsman, C. Maclean, McKenzie, D. Maclean (gk).
Referee - Thomas Shaw.
Pictures by Donald Matheson