Written by Nairn County FC March 13th 2018

SEAMUS McConaghy came off the bench at half time to net a second half double for the under-20s as they fought back from a goal down to end their away day hoodoo with victory at Brora Rangers. The midfielder found himself among the substitutes with new signing Tom Maclennan handed a first run out in County colours while Max Ewan was also included in the starting eleven, fresh from his goal for the first team at the weekend. Joe Cuthbert and captain Cameron Maclean were also back in the team having missed the last under-20s match due to first team commitments while a trialist and a return for Ian Payne completed coach Stuart Finnie’s six changes. The result ends the team’s 11-month, 13-game winless run away from Station Park. Brora had the better of the first half and a low diving save from Aidan Stewart prevented the Cattachs’ first team star Kyle Macleod from breaking the deadlock five minutes in. The Nairn number one got a slight fingertip to the former Ross County attacker’s low drive across goal to divert the ball on to the far post. Ewan raced in on goal from the left at the other end three minutes later but his low delivery was grabbed off the toes of Payne by Brora goalkeeper Will Counsell. There was concern for Counsell on 10 minutes when he landed on his head when collecting a high ball. After a lengthy delay, the Brora number one was replaced by Cameron Yuill. The hosts made their early pressure count as they opened the scoring on 21 minutes. Adam Allan swung in a cross from the right and Murray Mackay rose highest at the far post to head the ball beyond Stewart. Macleod almost added a second for Brora on 34 minutes but his powerful blast was kept away from goal by a sliding Maclean block. Nairn almost found a leveller on 43 minutes when a great lofted pass by Maclennan put Ewan in behind the Brora defence but his low effort from a tight angle on the left was blocked by Yuill with a covering defender knocking the ball behind as Ryan MacBean looked to get on the end of the rebound. But from the resulting corner, County equalised as Brora failed to deal with Payne’s delivery from the right, allowing the ball to break to Jack W. Maclean on the six-yard line and he swept home with his right foot to send the sides in level at the interval. And having scored in the dying embers of the first half, Nairn found the net again barely a minute after the restart. A short pass back by Allan was seized by half time substitute Seamus McConaghy and he blasted the ball over the advancing Yuill to give County the lead. Macleod fired just over the crossbar from the edge of the box for Brora on the hour-mark before the same player dragged a low effort across goal and inches past the far post from a similar distance two minutes later. Nairn escaped a shout for a penalty as Brora increased the pressure in search of a leveller before the visitors somehow managed to scramble the ball behind at the far post off a Scott Lisle free kick from deep on the left 73 minutes in. But the visitors weathered the storm and two minutes later, substitute Alex Geddes skipped past the advancing Yuill but saw his goal-bound shot hacked clear by a covering defender. Then, on 76 minutes, Geddes looped a header over the crossbar off a delivery from the left and the striker was involved again as Nairn added a third goal on 85 minutes. His neat head flick sent Seamus McConaghy in on goal again and he made no mistake as he clipped the ball over the exposed Yuill. Brora went straight up the park and pulled one back from the penalty spot after a foul in the box by trialist gave Scott Lisle the chance to blast past substitute goalkeeper Fraser Wilkie from 12 yards. But Nairn held on for all three points. Brora Rangers – Counsell (Yuill 14), Allan (yellow 45+1), MacRae, Sutherland, C. MacRae (y 69), Davis (Griffiths 54), Urquhart, Lisle, Macleod (y 66) (Corbett 80), Mackay, Campbell. Subs unused: Webster, MacBeath. Nairn County – Stewart (Wilkie 46), Trialist (yellow 73), Tweedie (Wheeler 85), Cameron Maclean, Payne, Trialist, Maclennan (McDermott 46), Cuthbert, MacBean (Geddes 66), Ewan (McConaghy 46), Jack W. Maclean. Subs unused – . Referee – John Nicolson. Graeme Macleod

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