Written by Nairn County FC December 17th 2016

IT was a point apiece at Station Park with Wayne Mackintosh's early opener being immediately cancelled out at the other end. That was the way it finished on an afternoon where Nairn created the best of the chances with Keith heaving several sighs of relief as County were denied a couple of clear penalty kicks. Keith had the better of a lively opening period but it was the Maroons' goalkeeper who was the first of the two stoppers called into action with Daniel Bell having to block Wayne Mackintosh's low drive from just inside the box with his boot on nine minutes. An all-action few minutes saw goals at both ends. The County went in front with Gregg Main's free kick from the halfway line being headed off the crossbar by Jordan Macrae from the edge of the box. The ball spun up into the air with Ross Naismith's rebound being blocked by the sprawling Bell but there was nothing the goalkeeper could do as Wayne Mackintosh rammed home the rebound. But the lead was short lived with James Brownie's long range effort being tipped on to the inside of the post by Dylan Maclean with the ball spinning back across goal for Luke Barbour to tap home. Then, Kris Duncan met a cross from the right with a looping header that struck the crossbar on 18 minutes before the former Forres attacker was denied twice by a superb double save from Maclean a minute later. A direct approach from Nairn almost saw them re-establish their lead with Dylan Maclean's free kick flicked on by the head of Macrae for Ross Naismith to run on to but his volley looped across goal and whistled just past the post. Keith survived a strong penalty shout on 54 minutes as Stewart Hutcheon shoved Jack Maclean to the ground at the far post after the Maroons defender had been caught wrong side and the Nairn wide man about to head home a Jamie Mackay cross from the right. Bell then kept his side level on 72 minutes with a fine diving save to his left to keep out Mackay's drilled effort from the edge of the box after the Nairn winger had controlled a deep Gregg Main free kick before swivelling and blasting goalwards. At the other end, Craig Cormack's curling shot from the right side of the box was held by Maclean in the Nairn goal on 78 minutes. A Kenny McKenzie pull back from the left was just behind Dylan Mackenzie at the near post and he dragged his shot past the near post. It was the woodwork to Keith's rescue on 87 minutes with Jack Maclean meeting a Mackay cross from the right with a deft touch that struck the far post with Bell rooted to the spot. And the visitors had another let off in the final minute when Bruce Milne swiped Dylan Mackenzie's legs from under him as the attacker looked to cut inside from the by-line but the referee signalled for a corner. Nairn County – D. Maclean, J. Maclean, C. Maclean, S. Mackenzie, Glenn Main, Mackintosh (yellow 43), Naismith (D. Mackenzie 77), K. McKenzie, Macrae (Riddell 58), Gregg Main (y 54), Morganti (Mackay 48). Subs: Barron, Ednie, Moir, R. Macleod (gk). Keith – Bell, Hutcheon, Spink (yellow 3), Clark (y 71), Milne, Raffel, Duncan (Cormack 62), Barbour, Brownie (y 90+1), Ewan (Smith 77), MacAskill (Fraser 62). Subs: Ralton, Hall, McNamee, Whelan, Smith. Referee – Thomas Shaw. Graeme Macleod

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