THE Scottish Cup dream ended for another year for Nairn County as Wick Academy progressed to face Linlithgow Rose in the third round of this season’s competition after this round two replay at Harmsworth Park, writes Graeme Macleod.
The visitors’ starting eleven was unchanged from last weekend’s original tie with only John Cameron dropping out from the squad. He saw his place on the bench taken by the returning Bradley Halsman.
Gary Weir’s through ball on three minutes put Richard MacAdie in on Calum Antell’s goal. The advancing goalkeeper forced the Wick man wide and from a tight angle, his shot was cleared off the goal line by the covering Adam Naismith.
The home side opened the scoring with their next attack 10 minutes later. Gary Weir got his head to a long ball forward to flick it into the path of David Allan before the striker went around Antell and stroked into the net.
And Wick doubled their lead on 16 minutes leaving County with a mountain to climb. Sean Webb’s rash tackle in the penalty area saw David Watt point to the penalty spot and Richard MacAdie stepped up to send Antell the wrong way from 12 yards.
County halved the deficit with 11 minutes to go until half time though. Robbie Duncanson nicked the ball off left back Danny Mackay before jinking inside and pulling the ball back for Conor Gethins, who crashed the ball into the roof of the net with a first time shot from 15 yards out at the front post.
Wick took just two minutes to restore their two-goal advantage. Gary Weir was afforded the space to net a towering header as the striker rose to meet Sam Mackay’s deep, in-swinging cross from the left.
County were first to threaten after the break on 53 minutes. Sam Urquhart fashioned half a yard on the edge of the box to let fly but his powerful effort was tipped over by a diving save from Sean McCarthy in the Wick goal.
Substitute Tony Wallace made a big impact from the bench and very nearly hauled Nairn back into it on 72 minutes. He rolled his marker 30 yards out in the right channel and advanced in on goal but saw his curling, left-footed shot tipped around the far post by McCarthy.
Wick made sure of their progress to the third round on 78 minutes. Weir fed David Allan off a free kick forward to the right channel and the striker composed himself before tucking the ball inside Antell’s left-hand post.
The hosts rounded off the scoring with the pick of the bunch three minutes into injury time. Gary Manson broke forward on the right after Gregg Main’s misplaced pass had conceded possession and fed the ball over to the left to Sam Mackay. He clipped a curling, right-footed shot from the left edge of the box into the top corner of the net to round off the scoring.
Wick Academy - S. McCarthy, Farquhar, D. Mackay, G. Steven, Campbell, D. Allan (Manson 83), MacAdie (M. Steven 75), Pickles, S. Mackay, Harrison, Weir (MacGregor 85). Subs unused: R. Allan, Macgregor, D. McCarthy (gk).
Nairn County - Antell, Webb (Skinner 72), P. Macleod (yellow 63), Mackintosh (C. Maclean 48), Pollock, Gethins, Gregg Main (yellow 77), Urquhart (yellow 65), A. Naismith, Duncanson, Glenn Main (Wallace 46). Subs unused: R. Naismith, Halsman, McKenzie, D. Maclean (gk).
Referee - David Watt.
Pictures by Donald Matheson