Nairn County 2 – 3 Preston Athletic
William Hill Scottish Cup Round One
Preston progressed into the 2nd round after an exciting cup tie that was literally the game of two haves at Station Park.
The Panners got the perfect start within 2 minutes as a Gavin Stevenson run down the right saw the home defence fail to deal with his low cross and Kenny Park placed his shot into the bottom corner, Nairn were handed an early chance to equalise as referee Steven Traynor adjudged a sliced clearance and punch clear by Craig Pennycuick to be a back pass but the 11 men on the line held firm. On 12 minutes Preston were two up, the ball broke to Liam Todd whose deep cross was met perfectly by Danny O’Rourke to bullet a header home.
Todd again forced Nairn keeper Dylan MacLean into a fine save from distance either side of shots by Nairn striker Gary Kerr both held by Pennycuick. Wayne Mackintosh then missed a great chance for Nairn as his diving header from Calum Riddell’s cross went over from 6 yards out.
Scott Barclay then finished of a great move latching onto a neat Park through ball to fire home to give the Panners a three goal lead their play had deserved to that point.
Just prior to half time however, the home side brought on Ross Naismith for Stevie MacKenzie and then changed formation to three at the back and they started the second period well pushing Preston back and gained a foothold as sub Naismith tucked home a cut back from Jamie MacKay. Soon after Preston could have restored the 3 goal lead as Danny O’Rourke got his head to another fine Stevenson cross but this time it went just wide, Mark Law’s shot from 35 yards out also tested keeper MacLean. Nairn’s second goal on 70 minutes saw the Preston defence caught out with a long ball and Naismith tucked home and the lack of any celebration showed the home side were determined to force at least the draw. Nairn pushed for the equaliser and Naismith, Jack MacLean and Mackintosh all fired wide but late on Pennycuick did really well to push another Naismith effort onto the post and out to safety. In the dying minutes sub Neil Shave broke through the home defence by was cynically brought down by Glenn Main and the defender was lucky there was cover coming across and only saw yellow.
The referees whistle saw the men from Prestonpans progress into the Second Round draw and a happy bus journey home.
Nairn County : D.MacLean, S.MacKenzie(Naismith), McKenzie, P.MacLeod, Glen Main, Mackintosh, Riddell, C.MacLean, Kerr, MacKay(D.MacKenzie), J.MacLean. Subs: Moir, MacRae, Morganti, Greg Main, R.MacLeod.
Preston Athletic : Pennycuick, Law, Cochrane, Cowan, Colquhoun, Todd(McLeod), Stevenson, Barclay, Henderson(Shave), Park, O’Rourke(Lawson). Subs: Baines, Jardine, Erskine, Siegel.