Written by Nairn County FC August 13th 2016

A 3-3 draw at Fraserburgh earned Nairn County their first point of the season but the scoreline does not begin to tell the story of an incredible encounter at Bellslea. Both goalkeepers were called into action to make smart saves early on. Grant Noble wriggled in behind the Nairn back line on four minutes but his powerful drive was parried away by Dylan Maclean. Then, at the other end, Gary Kerr called Paul Leask into action at his near post to deny the County centre forward. Two goals in three minutes gave County the perfect start. Maclean clutched a cross in from right and bowled the ball out to Paul Macleod on the other side. He helped it on to Wayne Mackintosh, who fed Gary Kerr on the halfway line. The centre forward spun away from Russell McBride and charged towards goal from the right before slotting a low, angled drive under Paul Leask. Then, just three minutes, Ross Naismith won a lost cause just inside the Nairn half. He found Wayne Mackintosh in space in the middle of the park, who then spread the ball wide to Mackay. His low delivery was partially cleared, which allowed Callum Maclean to step on to the ball and whip a exquisite drive over Leask from 22 yards. The visitors were denied a third by a goal line clearance on 21 minutes. Jordan Macrae's header on set Kerr racing forward. The centre forward rounded Leask but saw his effort from a tight angle hacked cleared at the near post by a covering defender. From Ross Naismith's corner which followed, Paul Macleod helped the ball back into the danger area at the far post and Calum Riddell met it with a header that struck the post. Nairn's dream start continued on 25 minutes as Wayne Mackintosh added a third. The visitors passed their way out from the back and when Mackintosh had time 25 yards out, the skipper lifted his head and drilled a low effort into the bottom left hand corner of the net to leave Leask rooted to the spot. County threatened again on 34 minutes. Kerr nicked the ball off Russell McBride on the by-line on the right hand side and his low delivery was stepped over by Ross Naismith at the front post. The ball then found its way to Jordan Macrae at the far post and he spun on it before blasting just past the upright from eight yards. A fantastic one-touch passing move by Nairn County on 36 minutes almost led to the visitors finding a fourth goal. Naismith knocked the ball out to the left from the centre circle for Mackintosh to run on to. He met it with a low, first time cross that Kerr ran on to but the striker scooped the ball over the bar. Ryan Cowie's in-swinging free kick almost allowed the hosts a way back in. The attacker whipped the ball in from the right and although it struck Paul Macleod to take the sting out of it, Maclean had to react quickly to drop on the ball and keep it out. The Broch were reduced to 10 men a minute before the break when Jamie Mackay raced towards the penalty area and was scythed down by Russell McBride just as he looked to move into the box. Referee Graham Beaton showed the Broch skipper a straight red for his troubles. The hosts came out determined to cut the deficit and would have done so four minutes after restart if not for a stunning block by Dylan Maclean. An in-swinging Ryan Cowie free kick from the right was glanced by the head of Dean Cowie. It looked a certain goal but somehow the young stopper managed to extend a leg and save it with his foot. At the other end, Naismith played a low ball across goal but Jamie Mackay could only fire it over the crossbar from close range as he raced on to it on 53 minutes. Then, a minute later, Jordan Macrae wriggled into the box from the left but his drive was held by Leask at his near post. Fraserburgh pulled one back on the hour-mark through an own goal. Ryan Cowie whipped in an inviting delivery from the left that Calum Riddell was stretching to reach and try to knock wide but he could only divert the ball beyond the helpless Dylan Maclean. That gave the Broch a lift and they started to take control but County nearly added a fourth on 74 minutes. Substitute Jason Morganti lifted the ball over the Broch defender from the right for Kerr to run on to but the Nairn centre forward's low, angled shot from the left was blocked by Leask's boot. But disaster struck Nairn as the hosts netted two goals in as many minutes to draw level. A free kick into the box on 77 minutes found the head of Bryan Hay and although Maclean blocked the initial effort, Paul Campbell was on hand to knock home for the hosts. Then, two minutes later, the visitors failed to clear a corner from the left and the loose ball dropped for Marc Lawrence to whip home the leveller. Another superb save from Maclean kept County level as he denied Paul Campbell just as the Broch sub looked like he was going to net a dramatic winner. Fraserburgh – Leask, Dickson, McBride (red 44), R. Cowie, Hay, D. Cowie, Lawrence (yellow 38), Rae, Noble (Buchan 46), Johnston (y 32) (Campbell 46), Combe. Subs unused: Cameron, Norris, Fraser, Barbour. Nairn County – D. Maclean, Mackenzie (J. Maclean 88), Glenn Main (yellow 40), P. Macleod, Riddell, Mackintosh, Naismith, C. Maclean, Kerr, Mackay (Morganti 68), Macrae (D. Mackenzie 61) (y 65). Subs unused: Moir, Barton, Munro, R. Macleod (gk). Referee – Graham Beaton. Graeme Macleod

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