It was 3-1 to Brechin City the last time these two sides met in competitive action and history repeated itself today some half-a-century later as the Angus men took all three points from their first ever visit to Station Park.
City’s fall from grace has been steep – playing Championship football just over three years ago – which has seen them suffer back-to-back-to-back relegation and now find themselves in the Highland League so soon after being just one promotion away from the Premiership. But having assembled a squad of players from all of the country with over a thousand SPFL appearances between them, Andy Kirk’s men are showing no intention of making a trip to Glebe Park a staple of the Highland League circuit.
City will be there or thereabouts when the prizes are handed out at the end of the season on today’s evidence while we are still seeking the traction we need to give our season lift off after a disappointing opening quarter of the campaign.
Kenny McKenzie and Glenn Main returned to the starting line-up and Ciaran Young was back on the bench after featuring for the Reserves last weekend. The young striker came on in place of the injured Scott Davidson in the second half and marked his first outing of the season with his made senior goal. The teams were:
Nairn County – Dylan Maclean, Ben Williamson, Kenny McKenzie (Dylan Mackenzie 56), Cohen Ramsay (yellow 63), Ryan Fyffe, Adam Porritt, Glenn Main (Angus Dey 56), Callum Maclean, Conor Gethins, Scott Davidson (Ciaran Young 68), Liam Shewan. Subs unused: Seamus McConaghy, John Treasurer, Sam Gordon, Fraser Wilkie (gk).
Brechin City – Jack Willis, Jamie Bain, Hamish Thomson (red 47), Iain Davidson, Marc Scott, Michael Paton, Kieran Inglis, David Cox (yellow 52) (Julian Wade 56), Max Kucherlavyi, Cameron Ross (Rory Currie 79), Murray Mackintosh (Jack Milne 68). Subs unused: Lyall Booth, Luc Bollan, Michael Cruickshank, Iain Ross.
City were quick out of the traps and the impressive Max Kucheriavyi – who was a thorn in Nairn’s side all day – went in on goal in just the first minute but he mis-kicked his shot, which allowed Ryan Fyffe to get around on the cover and mop up on the goal line.
We threatened at the other end on 12 minutes when a Conor Gethins corner from the left was fizzed in at waist height and flicked just over the crossbar by Fyffe at the near post.
The visitors were inches away from taking the lead on 18 minutes. Kucheriavyi was allowed to cut in from the left at the end of a flowing Brechin move but Dylan Maclean got a crucial fingertip to the shot to send it inches past the post for a corner kick.
But the Ukrainian was not to be denied from the resulting corner. Nairn failed to clear their lines with the ball dropping to Kuckeriavyi, who was lurking at the edge of the box. He had the time to fire in a shot but there was a great degree of fortune about it ending up in the net as it was heading off target initially before a deflection took it past the wrong-footed Dylan Maclean to put the visitors a goal up.
Kucheriavyi’s corner kick from the right four minutes later found Hamish Thomson at the near post but his diving header bounced wide as the visitors attempted to turn the screw.
But we caused our own downfall as Brechin made it two on 32 minutes. Marc Scott was released down the left and his low delivery across the face of goal was missed by everyone apart from the on-rushing Murray Mackintosh, who side footed home from close range to double his side’s lead.
Mackintosh almost doubled his tally just two minutes later. The midfielder had the time and space some 22 yards from goal to pick his spot and his effort took a deflection to loop it over Dylan Maclean but on this occasion, the crossbar came to the Nairn goalkeeper’s rescue.
A neat flick on put Cameron Ross racing in on the Nairn goal on 36 minutes. But Maclean was alert to advance from his goal and make a block at the striker’s feet, taking the ball flush in the face in the process.
Ross went close again on the stroke of half time when the ball was cleared to him at the edge of the box. He took a touch before having a go for goal but his effort was deflected just wide.
City went down to 10 men just two minutes into the second half. Scott Davidson outpaced Hamish Thomson as he headed towards goal before being hauled down by the Brechin defender at the edge of the box. Referee Billy Baxter was initially set to allow play to continue until he saw the raised flag of the farside linesman and once the foul was given, there was only one outcome.
We looked to make the one-man advantage count on 56 minutes when Ben Williamson fed Conor Gethins with a ball in from the right. His shot was blocked with the ball then breaking out to Callum Maclean but he sent his effort from 18 yards well over the crossbar.
Brechin still looked dangerous coming forward though and Julian Wade got in behind the Nairn defence on 69 minutes only to see his effort kept out by the sprawling Dylan Maclean.
We responded four minute later with Gethins supplying the unmarked Liam Shewan but his rising shot from the angle on the left was parried by Brechin goalkeeper, Jack Willis, who gathered at the second attempt.
Williamson was the source of another Nairn attack. This time he found Dylan Mackenzie at the right edge of the penalty area but the County attacker’s shot was at a nice height for Willis to clutch.
We pulled a goal back to setup the grandstand finale on 82 minutes though. Gethins whipped across an in-swinging corner from the left and Ciaran Young rose at the far post to power a downwards header beyond Willis for his first senior goal.
We looked the pile the pressure on but a botched free kick in the final minute of the 90 allowed Brechin to break forward and wrap up the points. Dylan Maclean slipped as he raced from his goal line to cut out a through ball, allowing Wade to go around him and reach the by-line to the left of goal before advancing in past Fyffe and knocking the ball past the recovered Maclean and in at the near post.