BREEDON HIGHLAND LEAGUE
NAIRN COUNTY 4 – 2 STRATHSPEY THISTLE
SATURDAY 22 OCTOBER 2022
STATION PARK, NAIRN
Goalscorers: Callum MacLean (14), Conor Gethins (41, 63), Scott Davidson (52); Cruickshank (69 pen, 71)
Royal British Legion Nairn Man of the Match: Calum Howarth
Nairn went in search of their opening league win of the season when they entertained bottom side Strathspey Thistle at Station Park.
The home side opened the match with two changes from last weeks starting line-up against Brora Rangers. Calum Maclean came in at the right back berth, with Cameron Lisle dropping to the bench, while Adam Porritt was a notable absentee with Angus Dey taking his place in midfield.
The opening exchanges saw the home side hold the upper hand, with efforts from Conor Gethins and Scott Davidson almost producing that early breakthrough.
However, the opener was only delayed until the 13th minute. The home side were awarded a corner, and from Andrew Greig’s well flighted cross into the box, defender Calum Maclean climbed about the Strathspey defence to head the opener at the front post.
Eleven minutes later, the home side came close to a second, when following good build up play, Scott Davidson was only inches away with a powerful fight foot effort.
Nine minutes from the interval, the home side had Keeper Dylan Maclean to thank for a terrific save to deny Aidan Cruickshank from close range, as the visitors looked to reduce the leeway with the interval close. The home side countered and a superb 18 yard effort from the edge of the box from midfielder Angus Dey produced a superb point blank save from keeper Michael MacCallum.
With five minutes of the first period remaining Conor Gethins made it 2-0, when he latched onto a Calum Howarth cross to the far post to beat the keeper with a clever finish.
Twelve minutes after the interval the match was virtually over as a contest when man of the match Calum Howarth weaved his way along the by-line – his driven cross saw striker Scott Davidson knock the ball home from close range.
The home continued to press forward at every opportunity and deservedly make it 4-0 after 65 minutes, when Conor Gethins cleverly added his second of the match with a deft finish following fine build up involving Scott Davidson and Andrew Greig.
The visitors at this juncture looked down and out, but to their credit they clawed their way back into the match with two goals inside ninety seconds. In 69 minutes, they reduced the leeway from the penalty spot. Nairn keeper Dylan Maclean was adjudged to have halted striker Aidan Cruickshank’s progress with Referee Billy Baxter pointing immediately to the penalty spot. Cruickshank dusted himself down to beat the keeper from the resultant spot kick award.
Sixty seconds later, the same player was on the scoresheet again, when he waltzed past three defenders before drawing the keeper and finding the net with a composed finish.
From there the visitors grew in confidence, with the home side now feeling the pressure. Substitute Kenny MacKenzie almost added a fifth for the Station Park side, with a thumping 25 yard drive that was cleared of the goal-line by Liam Grant under pressure from Davidson.
With eleven minutes remaining, substitute Ciaran Young brought a superb save from Michael MacCallum, who pushed the striker’s well struck effort round the post at full stretch.
The home side will take a lot of positives with this victory. The monkey is now of their back, they have also scored four goals, with three coming from their striker partnership of Conor Gethins and Scott Davidson which is sure to give them confidence going into their encounter with Keith, at Kynoch Park, at the weekend.
NAIRN COUNTY: Dylan Maclean: Callum Maclean, Calum Howarth, Fraser Dingwall (C), Paul Macleod: Andrew Greig (Liam Shewan 88), Angus Dey (Kenny Mckenzie 67), Gordon MacNab, Wayne MacKintosh: Conor Gethins (Ciaran Young 67), Scott Davidson
Subs unused: Sam Gordon, Cameron Lisle, Stephen Rennie, Glenn Main
STRATHSPEY THISTLE: MacCallum: Grant, McDade, McShane, Gilland: Patterson, J.Davidson, Cruickshank , Cullen: Austin, Whitehorn
Subs: C.Macleod, Taylor, Kerr, Trialist
Referee: Billy Baxter