Published: 06/09/2017 21:40 - Updated: 07/09/2017 06:37

Campbell double for Brora ends Nairn County's hopes in North of Scotland Cup

Written byPaul Chalk

A SHAKEN-UP Nairn County side impressed but lost 4-0 at home to Brora Rangers in North of Scotland Cup quarter-finals tonight.

The winners of this tie knew ahead of kick-off that they would be facing Forres Mechanics away in the semis after their game at Fort William was called off and they were awarded the victory as their hosts could not raise a team.

Brora booked their berth at this stage of the competition thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win against Clach, while Nairn got a bye.

Nairn were much changed from the weekend when they crashed to a 5-0 Highland League battering at managerless Formartine United, while Tokely's team arrived in the seaside town boosted by their 3-2 league win at Deveronvale.

Brora almost got off to a flyer when Kyle Macleod edged into the box from a Scott Graham assist and poked the ball past keeper Dylan MacLean, but it came off the base of the post and to safety.

It was a lively start though from both sides, with the young lads from Nairn showing attacking intent as well.

An example of this was when Jordan Macrae went on a darting run and he lined up Dylan MacKenzie on the right and only a timely Colin Williamson intervention prevented Macrae from meeting it.

There was a collective sigh of relief from the home fans on 20 minutes when a teasing cross from Andrew Greig deflected to fool everyone in the box and come back off the post.

Ally Macdonald had the chance to test MacLean from a free-kick, but the effort had too much height to trouble the keeper.

At the other end, Kerr smashed a low shot goalwards and it took a fine save from on-loan Caley Jags keeper Daniel Hoban to turn it around the post.

Six minutes before the break, and from a Gunn corner, Kyle Macleod guided a shot off the left post, for another close call for the visitors.

So, at 0-0 at half-time, Nairn would have been happy with their performance as they got forward when they could, while stood strong against the Brora attacks, while the woodwork also played its part.

Nairn keeper MacLean was called into action just after the break when Craig Gunn latched on to a decent ball from Kyle Macleod, but the number one got down smartly to save.

Moments later, Ally Macdonald dug out a cross into the box and Macleod's effort was deflected wide of goal.

Brora kept going and Martin Maclean swerved a 20-yarder beyond the right post as MacLean watched it go.

The opener arrived on 55 minutes when Mark Nicolson, from a free-kick won by Graham, guided the ball via a deflection over the wall and high into the net. It was a fine finish and left Nairn with it all to do.

Nairn then enjoyed a spell of pressure and it ended when, on the hour, Glenn Main's half volley flashed a foot or so beyond the right post.

At the other end, Greig almost doubled Brora's advantage, but yet again the woodwork denied them as his curler hit the right post.

Nicolson then had another free-kick, this time earned by Greig, from a similar distance to where he scored from, but this time it finished high over the top.

Nairn were hanging in there, but they were killed off on 72 minutes when a pin-point delivery from Greig was bulleted into the net by sub Craig Campbell.

The gloss was further added to the result as Campbell scored with a deflected effort from close range then fellow sub Zander Sutherland added another.

Brora will now face Forres away in the semi-finals on Wednesday, October 4.

Nairn County: Dylan MacLean, Jack MacLean, Callum Ednie, Adam Naismith, Glenn Main, MacDonald, Dylan MacKenzie, Urquhart (Ross Naismith74), Kerr (Ewan 80), Macrae, Ramsay. Subs not used: Kenny McKenzie, Munro.

Brora Rangers: Hoban, Houston, Ally Macdonald, Williamson, Duff, Maclean, Nicolson, Graham (Morrison 66), Kyle Macleod (Campbell 69), Gunn, Greig (Sutherland 79). Subs not used: Ross, Paterson, Brindle, Counsell.

Referee: Dan McFarlane.

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