Nairn St.Ninian 1 v 2 Banchory St.Ternan
Bouncebackability was what Banchory needed this week after a bad defeat to Banks O’Dee the previous week. And it was a much improved performance that brought three McBookie.com Superleague points back to Milton Park. Mike Bruce was declared fit to be on the bench after a two game injury absence.
Right from the kick off Saints showed their intent and with only two minutes gone the home keeper fumbled a Greg Smith cross but recovered to gather the ball at the second attempt. There was then a delay to the game when the referee halted the game whilst the groundsman cleared some dog excrement form the pitch.
Banchory were moving the ball around well despite the heavy underfoot conditions and took the lead on the 8th minute with a well worked move. The ball was played into Ryan Whelan’s feet who laid the ball off to Darren Reid who ran a few yards and sent a low shot past the home keeper to make it 1-0. Darren was on fire giving the big Nairn left back a bit of a roasting.
A Liam Cheyne shot was deflected for a corner followed by another as Nairn continued to be under pressure. Then on 16 minutes Ross Salmon’s pass upfield pass picked out Darren Reid who beat the keeper to the ball pushing it between his legs to stroke the ball into net, 2-0. Immediately from the kick off Josh Robertson lost the
ball under pressure and there were loud claims for a penalty from a blocked Nairn shot. Then a cross come shot was easily saved by Salmon on 21 minutes.
Apart from these Nairn attempts, Saints were still the dominant force and all the home side could muster was two corners on the half hour mark. Out of the blue Nairn pulled a goal back on 32 minutes. A corner was only half cleared and from the resultant cross the big left back rose above Salmon to head the ball into the net.
Game on now and the home centre forward broke clear but Salmon managed to block his effort on the edge of the box. Grant Munro side stepped his marker to send in a left foot shot that was deflected for a corner, and then on 40 minutes a Darren Reid run done the right and cross into Ryan Whelan saw the centre forward turn and shoot
straight at the Nairn keeper.
Into added time, Nairn sent a 20 yard shot over the bar and then Darren Reid should have scored his hat trick, but headed Jordan Clark’s cross wide from 8 yards. The last action of the first half was a scramble in the Nairn six yard box after a Munro shot was blocked but two attempts to poke the ball over the line failed.
Banchory continued the second half where they had left the first, pushing Nairn back and keeping them under pressure. Darren Reid set up Whelan on 50 minutes but the striker’s shot was blocked when a goal seemed certain.
Craig Peter now making the right back position his own, delayed a clearance with Nairn breaking forward but the Saints defence cleared setting up Greg Smith to curl a shot past the post. It looked as though Banchory had scored their third goal when the home keeper dropped a cross on the goal line but managed to recover and despite loud
claims for the goal the Assistant referee kept his flag down.
Nairn were reduced to ten men on 63 minutes when their number six received his second yellow card after a hefty challenge and from the free kick Liam Cheyne fired the ball wide of the post.
On 73 minutes a change was made with manager Ewan Robb sending on Martin Shand and Mark Reid in place of Ryan Whelan and Jordan Clark. Grant Munro volleyed well past from a Darren Reid cross before a Nairn free kick to the back post was volleyed over the bar from close range on 76 minutes.
The remainder of the game belonged to Nairn despite their numerical disadvantage. Darren Reid had to be replaced by Dean Henderson after a hefty challenge. Nairn pushed forward forcing a series of corners with the Saints defence standing firm.
From one of the corners Dean Henderson broke right and sent in an awkward cross that was well saved by the Nairn keeper. In the second minute of added time, Martin Shand received a clearance from a Nairn corner just inside his own half and with Mark Reid supporting him a goal seemed certain but Reid was flagged offside when he ran onto Shand’s pass.
Overall Banchory deserved the three points after their long trip north against a Nairn side that had not been beaten at home this season and lying second in the league.
Team: Ross Salmon, Craig Peter, Liam Cheyne, Steve Young, Josh Robertson, Grant Munro, Darren Reid (Dean Henderson), Conor Watt, Ryan Whelan (Mark Reid), Greg Smith, Jordan Clark (Martin Shand). Subs: Riley Cooper, Mike Bruce.
Next Saturday Saints have a home McBookie.com Superleague match against Hermes, kick off 1.30pm.