Written by Nairn County FC July 21st 2016

A GOALS-laden Bridgemill Direct Challenge Match saw Nairn County emerge victors by five goals to three at Station Park with two trialists finding the net, Jordan Macrae opening his account for the club and a Wayne Mackintosh wonder strike thrown in for good measure, writes Graeme Macleod. Two early goals did wonders for helping Sharp's men to settle as they raced into a comfortable lead with strikes from a couple of trialists. The opener came on seven minutes as Kenny McKenzie received Robbie Duncanson's short corner from the left. The wide man's delivery found the head of trialist Calum Riddell, who ghosted into the box to power a header into the far corner of the net. County doubled their lead with a neat move two minutes. Ross Naismith and Wayne Mackintosh exchanged passes on the right with the latter then clipping the ball into the box for trialist Gary Kerr to glance home a close range header. St Ninian settled down and began to impose themselves but it was County who were next to come closest on 18 minutes. Duncanson's lofted ball across goal found Ross Naismith rushing in but he volleyed the ball off the back post. Riddell was involved again on 24 minutes as his header at the edge of the box dropped perfectly for Naismith to crack a volley just past the post from 18 yards. Two minutes later, Jordan Macrae's great ball forward from the halfway line landed in Mackintosh's stride and he teed up Naismith but the midfielder took the volley early and sent his effort comfortably over the crossbar. A fine save from Robbie Flett in the St Ninian goal denied Duncanson as his low effort was tipped around the post. From the resulting corner, the County attacker collected the ball, jinked past a defender and poked a shot just wide of goal from 12 yards. St Ninian pulled one back though eight minutes before the break. Kyle Whyte whipped in an inviting low cross from the left and Jason Morganti was able to run on to it and crash the ball home beyond Dylan Maclean at the far post. It was the same story at the start of the second half as at the start of the first as County found the net early on. Jordan Macrae was the provider as his delivery from the left was perfect for Gary Kerr to outmuscle his marker and nod home his second of the night. St Ninian were back to within a goal behind on 53 minutes though. A long free kick forward from the halfway line was met by the towering figure of Jason Duncan at the far post. His looping header back across goal was knocked in Lee Haines on the goal line. Nairn re-established their two-goal cushion on 58 minutes. A corner from the left dropped to Kerr with his back to goal and he rolled the ball to Wayne Mackintosh. The midfielder stepped on to the pass and smashed his shot across goal and into the top left corner of the net from 15 yards. Duncanson remained at the heart of things for the hosts and blasted just past the post with the goalkeeper beaten on 69 minutes. Then, three minutes later, substitute Simon Hill pulled another goal back for St Ninian. County failed to clear an innocuous ball into the box and with goalkeeper Dylan Maclean out of his goals, the Saints attacker rolled the ball into the net. However, County added goal number five on 76 minutes through the combination of two youngsters. Substitute Jack Maclean clipped the ball into the box from the by-line on the left and striker Jordan Macrae ran on to it and smashed home at the near post for his first senior goal. A powerful volley by Scott Hendry on 81 minutes almost saw the visitors pull another goal back but his strike was straight at Dylan Maclean who did well to gather the 18-yard effort. A great piece of play by Macrae on 86 minutes almost led to the striker doubling his tally. He out-muscled Duncan on the right touchline to race in on goal before evading Graeme Harvey with a step over but he blasted just over the bar. Then, three minutes later, Jack Maclean run on to Duncanson's lofted pass but his attempted lob dropped just over the crossbar. Nairn County – D. Maclean, McKenzie (trialist 83), P. Macleod (Munro 86), trialist (trialist 69), Mackintosh, R. Naismith (trialist 69), C. Maclean, trialist (J. Maclean 69), Macrae (M. Macleod 86), Duncanson, Glenn Main. Subs unused: Trialist (gk). Nairn St Ninian – Flett (D. Smith 69), Macdonald (Harvey 46), P. Morganti, Duncan, Hendry (yellow 11), Scott (Hill 59), Haines (Anderson 69), J. Morganti (Chisholm 46), Whyte (y 42) (Mulligan 76), Morrison (y 14), Fonweban (C. Smith 81). Subs unused: Graeme Macleod

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