NORTH OF SCOTLAND CUP – FIRST ROUND
NAIRN COUNTY 1 ELGIN CITY 2
TUESDAY 26 JULY 2022
STATION PARK, NAIRN
Goalscorers: Williamson (71); Machado (31), MacEwan (34)
Royal British Legion Man of the Match: Dylan MacLean
Nairn went into their meeting with Elgin City looking to build on their excellent performance against Banks O’Dee, however, a disappointing first half showing against the Moray side saw them exit the competition by the odd goal in three.
The Station Park side went into the tie making five changes from the team that had played well against the Spain Park side.
Cameron Lisle, Scott Davidson and Liam Shewan dropped to the bench, while, Conor Gethins and Fraser Dingwall did not feature – with Glenn Main, Callum Howarth, Rory Williamson, Ciaran Young and Sam Gordon coming into the starting line-up.
The opening exchanges saw the visitors open strongly with former Inverness Caledonian Thistle youngster Kenny MacInnes prominent.
The midfielder raced onto a Cameron through ball, however, his curling 20 yard effort drifted wide of the far post with Dylan Maclean looking on anxiously. The wee County had a let-off three minutes later.
Lawrence raced onto a Darryl McHardy through ball, but after rounding the keeper his final effort was blocked on the goal-line by Glenn Main.
City continued to be the early aggressors, with County seen little in the attacking sense during the early stages.
City carved open another opportunity in 18 minutes. Brian Cameron released the impressive Fin Allen with a clever through ball to the edge of the box, however, again it was Dylan Maclean who produced an excellent save the deny the striker.
The visitors pressure finally paid off on the half hour.
MacInnes did the spadework with an intelligent run and pass that released Machado on the edge of the box, and the winger ran on unchallenged to fire home the opener past the helpless keeper.
Nairn County responded, and two minutes later there were loud appeals for a penalty when Sam Gordon was sent crashing to the ground following a McHardy challenge – however the referee waved away their claims.
Within a minute City had doubled their advantage when Allen rounded the keeper at the edge of the box, and his deft cross was swept home from six yards by Rory MacEwan.
The Elgin pressure continued, Sopel tested the keeper with a powerful 25 yard effort that brought a fine save from the Nairn County custodian.
With eight minutes of the first period remaining the Black & Whites were pushing forward looking to increase their advantage at every opportunity, with the Nairn defence under constant pressure.
The home side almost conceded a third effort, with three minutes of the first period remaining.
Sopel did the spadework with a neat run and cross, but with the goal gaping, MacEwan headed straight into the keeper’s arms when it looked easier to find the net.
The home side were struggling to break down a well marshalled Elgin defence in which McHardy and Cameron were outstanding as the interval approached.
In contrast, the second period opened with the home side almost reducing the leeway after 52 minutes.
MacEwan was slack with a pass on the edge of his box, the ball fell to Ciaran Young, who had time to take a touch, however, Elgin keeper Tom McHale reacted well to push the striker’s effort away at full stretch.
Two minutes later, Maclean again proved his worth, with a superb one-handed save to deny Fin Allen as City looked to put the match beyond the home side.
On the hour, the home side made a triple substitution, bringing on Scott Davidson, Liam Shewan and Seamus McConaghy for Gordon, Young and Callum Maclean respectively. The introduction of the trio breathed new life into the home side.
Within a minute Davidson weaved his way to the byeline, and his cutback saw Liam Shewan watch as his point- blank effort was blocked on the goal-line by Cameron, as Nairn looked to claw their way back into the tie.
McHardy was yellow carded for a late challenge on Scott Davidson, as the striker burst clear midway in the City half. A minute later County deservedly reduced the leeway when Rory Williamson capitalised on a defensive error to knock the ball into an empty net to set up a grandstand finish.
Chances came and went at either end, with Dylan Maclean again distinguishing himself with superb saves from Lawrence and Matczak in quick succession.
In response Nairn Came roaring back and McHale denied Davidson the equaliser when he pushed the striker’s final effort round the post at full stretch.
Nairn will be looking to bounce back on Saturday when they play host to Rothes on League business.
The visitors were well served by Darryl McHardy, Brian Cameron, Rory MacEwan and Fin Allen, while, for the home side, Dylan MacLean, Kenny Mackenzie, Angus Dey and substitutes Scott Davidson and Liam Shewan were standouts.
NAIRN COUNTY: Dylan Maclean: Glenn Main, Kenny MacKenzie, Callum Maclean (Seamus McConaghy 65) Callum Howarth, Adam Porritt: Andrew Greig, Angus Dey, Rory Williamson, Ciaran Young (Scott Davidson 65) Sam Gordon (Liam Shewan 65)
Unused substitutes: Will Counsell (gk) Cameron Lisle, Nathan Grant
ELGIN CITY: Thomas McHale: Owen Cairns, Aidan Cruickshank, Darryl McHardy, Kenny MacInnes, Rory MacEwan, Aidan Sopel, Brian Cameron, Dylan Lawrence, Fin Allen (Alek Matczak) Matheus Machado
Unused substitutes: Arran Anderson, Russell Dingwall, Michael Payne