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 Deveronvale 1-2 Nairn County (AET)
Scorers: Ballard 79, MacLean 90 + 3, Gregg Main 100 (pen)
Deveronvale's poor record in the domestic cups continued at Princess Royal Park last night when they were knocked out of the League Cup in extra time by nine-man Nairn County.
The courageous but physical side from Inverness-shire showed grit and determination to succeed when the odds were stacked against them while Steve Dolan's side blew a great chance to progress to play rivals Turriff on Saturday when they failed to firstly put the tie to bed during the latter stages of normal time and then again when the visitors went down to ten men minutes into extra time.
Dane Ballard thought he'd won the rather dull affair with eleven minutes remaining with a well-taken goal but Callum MacLean headed home an equaliser three minutes into stoppage time to send the tie into an extra thirty minutes. Drama was to follow with two sending offs within a three minute spell at the beginning of the restart before Dylan MacKenzie won a penalty out of nothing and Glenn Main hit the winner from 12-yards.
County were quicker out of the blocks following their kick-off in this much-delayed tie due to a water-logged PRP although a nasty clash of heads between Cammy Murray and Paul MacLeod saw the game stopped for five minutes and eventually both teams teams had to temporarily go down to ten men as the two injured players left the field for treatment.
Vale's Murray failed to return to the action and had to be replaced by Nathan Ross which saw Grant Noble drop into midfield while defender MacLeod returns to action with a large bandage round his head.
Zander Jack, Ross Aitken and Graeme Watt had efforts off target for the reorganised homeside while at the opposite area a set-piece almost fell kindly for Ross Naismith but the midfielder was off balance and screwed his effort high and wide.
The tie was riddled with poor possession and misplaced passes from both sides with very little in the way of goalmouth action for the football starved crowd and the referee wasn't exactly helping with inconsistent decisions and brandishing yellow cards for the slightest of infringements. HT
Captain Graeme Watt took a high challenge shorty after the restart and had to be replaced by transfer listed Scott Begg while Dane Ballard sent a tame header straight at County keeper Dylan MacLean following a set-piece.
Grant Noble had the best chance of the match to date just short of the hour mark but volleyed wide of the target from 18-yards before Dane Ballard tugged his drive wide as he ran at the County defence.
Things didn't get any better on the quality front until the seventy-fifth minute, super sub Dylan MacKenzie crossed from the left and Ross Naismith rose unchallenged only to see his glancing header come back off the post and into Grant Pennet's thankful arms.
To runabout salt into Naismith Vale went up the other end and opened the scoring, substitute Scott Begg won a fifty-fifty and squared to Grant Noble and he in turn played a low ball to the feet of the Dane BALLARD with the striker finding the net with a the first time shot which had Dylan MacLean left firmly rooted to the spot.
Vale missed a sitter with five minutes remaining to seal the victory, Nathan Ross skying his eight yarder over the top after being set-up by Scott Begg with the visitors caught out with too many bodies pushing forward whilst leaving their hosts with a three versus one situation at the back.
Wayne MacKintosh came within inches of an equaliser when his fierce effort shaved the post although deep into injury time the visitors did equalise, a long throw was headed on and Callum MacLean looped the ball over the head of the flat-footed Grant Pennet. FT
Wayne MacKintosh was shown a second and a subsequent red within a minute of the extra thirty minutes and he was followed into dressing room by team mate Jordan Macrae who foolishly threw himself into a late challenge on Lewis Dunbar whilst already on a yellow card minutes later.
Incredibly the nine men grabbed the winner when Steven Fraser upended lone-striker Dylan MacKenzie as he ran at the home defence and into the box with referee Dempster awarding a spot kick which Gregg Main fired low under Grant Pennet followed by an over the top celebration in front of the infuriated Valley Crew.
Dylan MacLean pulled off a fine stop to deny Nathan Ross while at the opposite end further strong running from Dylan MacKenzie almost lead to another for County but Grant Pennet prevented the substitute from netting when he palmed his angled strike to safety.
Liam Forbes saw a looping header plucked out of the air by Dylan MacLean before Lewis Dunbar fired one into the side netting but bar that the visitors with their inferior numbers defended in numbers and made it through to the next round whist the Vale's season ended in a whimper.
Vale: Pennet, *34 Dunbar, *93 Aitken, *112 Krobot, Davidson (Fraser 84), Forbes, *38 Jack, Watt (Begg 51), Ballard, Noble, Murray (Ross 9)
Subs: Willox, Manson, Fraser, Souter, Mackie (gk)
Nairn: MacLean, S MacKenzie (D MacKenzie 62), *86 MacLean, MacLeod, *40 Main, *90 & 91 Mackintosh, Naismith (Riddell 84), McKenzie, *75 & 94 Macrae, *11 Main, Morganti
Subs: Barton, Wilkie (gk)
Manager: Ronnie Sharp
Referee: Ben Dempster
Vale Stats:
Efforts On: 5
Efforts Off: 10
Woodwork: 0
Corners: 5
Offside: 0
Overhead Conditions: Breezy
Playing Surface: Soft
Temp at KO: 5 deg C
Last Season: NA
Reporter: Neil Montgomery
Reported LastEdited: 23-Feb-2017
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