Written by Nairn County FC July 29th 2021

We went out of the North of Scotland Cup at the First Round stage for the second time in a row as Lossiemouth overcame the setback of going behind early on to take advantage of our lacklustre display and reach the last eight. The competition was scrapped last year due to the pandemic while we suffered the same fate as last night the year before when we went down to Fort William. And our North Cup hopes are over again after a night to forget against the Coasters. The dismal weather was only matched by our performance levels as this cup tie proved to be too much for our unchanged team following a hard-fought 2-0 win at Keith in sweltering heat at the weekend. Then, to compound our misery, we ended the match with nine men following red cards for Max Ewan and Conor Gethins. We lined up as: Nairn County – Will Counsell, Rory Williamson (yellow 68 (Sam Gordon 72)), Cohen Ramsay, Callum Maclean, John Treasurer (Angus Dey 24), Fraser Dingwall, Max Ewan (y 28, 83), Kenny McKenzie, Conor Gethins (y 77, 83), Dylan Mackenzie (Seamus McConaghy 63), Liam Shewan. Subs unused: Glenn Main, Ciaran Young, Callum Ednie, Dylan Maclean (gk). Lossiemouth – Logan Ross, Michael Weir, Lewis McAndrew, Dean Stewart, Ross Archibald, Liam Archibald, Connor McCauley, Ryan Sewell, Brodie Allen (James Leslie 90+1), Ross Elliot (Ross Morrison 63), Ryan Stuart (Fraser Forbes 73). Subs unused: Niall Kennedy, Andrew Milton, Oliver Kelly (gk). The visitors threatened 10 minutes in with Ross Elliot's snap shot from 20 yards following Ryan Stuart chesting down a ball in from the left flying just wide of Will Counsell's goal. We went in front just a minute later though as Conor Gethins marked his return to Station Park with a goal. A sublime piece of skill by Max Ewan on the by-line to the right of goal took him past Michael Weir and he then pulled the ball back to Gethins. Then, from 10 yards out at the front post, the Irishman swept a first time effort low and across Ross Logan in the Lossiemouth goal, with the ball nestling inside the far post. Brodie Allen saw a 25-yard effort easily held by Counsell on 19 minutes but two minutes later, Lossiemouth were back on level terms with their next effort from a similar range. Ryan Stuart stepped inside Cohen Ramsay from the right and lashed a dipping effort goalwards. Counsell appeared to have it covered as he pulled his arms away at the last moment but the ball dipped just enough to clip the underside of the crossbar and find the net. Defender John Treasurer then succumbed to injury on 24 minutes as he limped off clutching his knee to add to our injury woes as he joined Calum Howarth, Tom Maclennan, Scott Davidson and Lewis Mitchell on the treatment table. We looked to respond to the equaliser and on the half-hour, Liam Shewan delivered a cross from the left which was directed goalwards by a stooping header from Gethins. But Ross dived to his right to touch the ball around the post for a corner. The set piece which followed was worked short between Ewan and Shewan with the ball into the box finding Fraser Dingwall, who was denied by Ross. A long diagonal from Ramsay at left back almost caught out the Lossie stopper as he came racing off his line only to be beaten to the punch by Dylan Mackenzie. The Nairn forward looped a header beyond the stranded goalkeeper but the ball dropped the wrong side of the left-hand post. Lossiemouth went ahead four minutes before the break as Stuart doubled his tally by rounding off a well-worked move. Ryan Sewell wandered in off the left touchline and dinked the ball on to the chest of Stuart just outside the penalty area. He spun away from from Ramsay and into the box to open up the space and clinically smash a low shot across Counsell and into the far corner. The hosts pushed on after the restart and Shewan's cross from the left was met by Rory Williamson arriving 15 yards out at the far post but his first time drive was blocked by a defender. But the visitors increased their lead on 59 minutes as they worked the ball in from the right to Sewell, who lashed a swerving, left-footed effort from 20 yards out across goal and into the far top corner. The visitors were playing with a sharpness and a verve which was lacking from our display all night with their defensive shape and energy proving too much for us to overcome. We came close on 68 minutes when substitute Gussie Dey clipped the ball into Ewan who laid it off to Gethins. He showed composure to side step a defender and create a yard of space but his powerful drive was parried by Ross. It went from bad to worse on 73 minutes though as Lossiemouth were gifted a fourth. Dingwall was short with a backpass to Counsell, which allowed the impressive Stuart to nip in and he coolly rounded the County goalkeeper and rolled the ball into the unguarded net to complete his hat-trick. We immediately pulled a goal back with Shewan's delivery from the left striking the far post and falling to the feet of the predatory Gethins, who turned the ball home from six yards. But any hopes we had of pulling back the two-goal deficit were ended seven minutes from time as we went down to nine men. Max Ewan – who had been cautioned in the first half for catching Weir in the face with a high boot – was shown a second yellow card as he overstretched in a sliding attempt to win the ball back at the edge of the Lossiemouth box. He was quickly followed up the tunnel by Gethins, whose protests resulted in him too also being booked for the second time.

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