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Deveronvale 2-2 Nairn County
Scorers: Sutherland 37, Naismith 64 (pen), Ross 78, C MacLean 94
Nairn County nicked a point from Princess Royal Park when Callum Maclean sent a powerful header into the net four minutes into stoppage time, the fast-improving highlanders coming from behind for the second time in this entertaining encounter to return home with a hard-earned although perhaps slightly fortunate point.
Nathan Ross thought he'd won it for the Banff side when he netted seven minutes after replacing Dane Ballard but County fought hard for their manager Ronnie Sharp & club right to the end and somehow found a second equaliser of the match after Ross Naismith had levelled sponsors man of the match Paul Sutherland's first-half opener.
Steve Dolan fielded the same side for the second game running, indeed it was only the second time that the Vale boss had the luxury of sending out the same starting eleven this campaign the first and second games of the season being the only other occasion.
As things got underway the Banffers won a pair of corners and almost grabbed a third minute lead, Dane Ballard's back-heeler from inside the six-yard box being blocked after Steven Fraser set-up the number nine with a cushioned header off Paul Sutherland's delivery.
Vale continued their decent start to proceedings when Grant Noble was denied by County keeper Dylan MacLean after a good run down the left and low ball to the feet of Granty by Callum Murray.
A sweeping move from the homeside on the quarter hour saw Dane Ballard hit the target from 18-yards but again Dylan MacLean was equal to the strike after a nice firm passing move down the right while at the opposite end Steven Fraser had to go to ground to deny Gary Kerr a clean strike at goal although the number nine did get a second bite off the rebound which Grant Pennet saved comfortably.
Quick thinking from Grant Noble saw the number ten nick a dropped ball by visiting custodian Dylan MacLean but the angle was against the Vale striker as he tried to bend the ball into the unguarded net from the bye-line before Callum Murray did find the target only for MacLean to pull off another decent stop.
Gary Kerr was stopped in his tracks by the brave goalkeeping of Grant Pennet as the number nine raced onto a Ross Naismith threaded ball in behind and as County started to grow in confidence Pennet had to keep his eyes firmly on the ball as Jordan Macrae swung in a dangerous cross in an attempt to pick out the inrushing Ross Naismith with the latter slightly high with his boot and coming very close to injuring the keeper.
Vale grabbed a deserved opener eight minutes from the interval, there seemed little danger for the visitors when Chris Blackhall picked up the ball 35-yards from goal but Beano picked out Paul SUTHERLAND with a stunning ball to the feet of the on-the-run number seven and the number seven kept his composure to slide the ball under Dylan MacLea for his personal seventh of the season.
Zander Jack, who had been limping and trying to run off a knock, pulled off a superb goal-line clearance to deny Ross Naismith after a great ball across the face of goal from Jordan Macrae took out both Vale central defenders along with keeper Pennet. HT
Kyle Rae replaced the injured Zander Jack as the sides came back out for the second period which saw County press in the early stages for the all important next goal.
Chris Blackhall missed a gild-edged chance to put some daylight between the sides when he was sent in on goal by Callum Murray's sliderule pass, Beano sending the ball over the exposed Dylan MacLean and the crossbar.
The miss from Blackhall came back to haunt the Banffers five minutes later when the visitors pulled themselves level. Paul Sutherland's challenge on Gary Kerr looked timid enough but the big striker tumbled to the ground and referee Graham Beaton was comfortable that a penalty decision was the correct one, Ross Naismith smashing the award beyond Grant Pennet
Vale weren't to be denied though and restored their lead with twelve minutes to go, Callum Murray running at the County defence from the halfway line before squaring to substitute Nathan ROSS who took a touch before planting the ball into the bottom corner for his second of the campaign.
The visitors piled the pressure on the Vale defence although a break upfield saw Nathan Ross send Callum Murray away and his pull back from the bye-line was inch perfect for the arriving Chris Blackhall but unfortunately for the second time in the match Beano failed to hit the target.
With four minutes of injury time played County grabbed an equaliser, Callum MacLean sending a powerful heading out of the reach of Grant Pennet after substitute Mackenzie had skipped past Kyle Rae down the left and swung in a teasing ball into the Vale danger area.
Vale: Pennet, Dunbar, Jack (Rae 46), Begg, *61 Krobot, Fraser, Sutherland, Blackhall, Ballard (Ross 71), Noble (Manson 89), Murray
Subs: Keith, Mackie (gk)
Nairn: MacLean, J MacLean, C MacLean, MacKenzie, Main *69 Morganti, Naismith (Moir 81), McKenzie, Kerr, Riddell (McLeod 56), Macrae (Mackenzie 71)
Subs: Ednie, Hyett, Wilkie (gk)
Manager: Ronnie Sharp
Referee: Graham Beaton
Efforts On: 6
Efforts Off: 4
Overhead Conditions: Damp with Cool Breeze
Playing Surface: Soft
Temp at KO: 8 deg C
Last Season: 1-4
|Reporter: Neil Montgomery|
|Reported LastEdited: 27-Nov-2016|