Nairn produced a superb display to blow away Buckie Thistle at Station Park.
Goals from Andrew MacLeod, Ben Barron and Harry Hennem gave the home side a 3-0 victory against the off-form visitors, leaving boss Steven Mackay delighted with his side.
He said: “We knew it would be a hard game, but we thought the players we brought in upfront could cause problems and they did that in the first half.
“We went in one-up at half-time, but it could have been more and we knew how important the second goal would be.
“Overall I was very pleased with our shape, our running off the ball and the threat we posed going forward.”
🟡 FULL TIME ⚫️
A spectacular team performance. Goals from Andrew MacLeod, Ben Barron and Harry Hennem's late effort earn the three points. pic.twitter.com/iEbQlctQO0
— Nairn County FC (@NairnCounty) February 3, 2024
Andrew MacLeod scored the opener in a superb midfield display, and Mackay was full of praise for the Ross County loanee.
The Nairn boss added: “He has that touch of class about him and his attitude is first class.
“He’s a great kid who has been phenomenal for us this season.”
Horace Ormsby missed a great chance to put Nairn ahead early on, firing over an empty net from 10 yards after Calum Mackay drew Euan Storrier and squared it for the Nairn wide man.
Mackay then missed an opportunity on 15 minutes when he was set up by Ormsby, but he shot against the post from 12 yards.
Andrew MacLeod put the home side ahead on 26 minutes, finding space on the edge of the penalty area and curling a superb strike beyond Storrier.
— Nairn County FC (@NairnCounty) February 4, 2024
Buckie responded with Lyall Keir robbing Ross Tokely and bearing down on goal on 35 minutes, but he could only place his shot wide of the right post.
Jags came close just before the break when Jack Murray’s left foot drive flew just wide.
Adams missed a golden chance to level when he volleyed wide from four yards after a great header across goal from Cohen Ramsay.
Barron grabbed goal number two on the hour mark, Ormsby racing clear on the left and playing the ball across for Barron to convert at the far post.
Nairn sealed the win in the 89th minute, Storrier’s clearance deflected to the feet of Hennem, who finished superbly from 30 yards.
Buckie manager Graeme Stewart described it as “our worst performance for three years.”
He added: “I can’t remember a match when we’ve conceded so many chances and not been still in the game with ten minutes to go.”
Turriff United 1-2 Formartine United
A penalty converted eight minutes into injury time by right-back Jonathan Crawford gave Formartine United a 2-1 victory at Turriff United.
A hotly-contested local derby looked set to end all square, but Formartine manager Stuart Anderson was pleased his players managed to find a way to win.
He said: “It’s an excellent win against a very good Turriff side who have proved themselves over the course of the season.
“They only had one very good chance in the second half and if that goes in it changes the game.
“We had three or four really good chances so we have to work hard at being more clinical.
“Our play was not amazing on the day, but it’s a good sign we’ve managed to come away from home and grind out the win.”
It was the visitors who started slightly the better side and took the lead in 22 minutes.
Andrew Watt foraged down the left but lost possession. The ball was quickly played forward to Aaron Norris who squared to Aaron Reid who placed the ball firmly into the corner against his old team.
Seven minutes later Turriff equalised amid offside claims, Reece McKeown and Ewan Clark combining to set up John Allan who fired low past Ewan Macdonald.
Turriff centre-half Max Foster should have headed home in 76 minutes from a free kick.
Foster and fellow centre-back Finlay Murray later clashed heads and required bandaging and lengthy treatment.
Foster then conceded the last-gasp penalty by impeding Paul Campbell and seeing red.
For home boss Warren Cummings, the injuries to his back-line players was not being held up as an excuse.
He said: “It’s difficult to take, but Formartine never changed their approach.
“We didn’t deal with a ball behind us, which we knew we had to.
“It’s about defending better and properly. They put us under incessant pressure and got their rewards,”
Fraserburgh 2-1 Forres Mechanics
Fraserburgh squeezed past Forres Mechanics with a 2-1 victory at a blustery Bellslea Park thanks to substitute Scott Barbour.
The Broch’s record goalscorer came off the bench to score twice in 10 second-half minutes and overturn Forres’ half-time advantage.
Broch boss Mark Cowie said: “We’re controlling large spells of games, but not creating many chances.
“Connor Wood has put a great cross in first half, but nobody is there to tap it in, then Forres score with the first chance of the game.
“In the second half, we were a different animal.
“We asked them to get back to what they are capable of and give the fans something to get excited about.
“We changed the shape and played with two strikers and for a 10-15-minute spell we pinned Forres back and created some great chances.
“Scott’s deadly when he gets it onto his left foot and took his goals really well.
“He’s probably missed his best chance, which was a great counter by us.
“But that was more like us after the break and hopefully we can kick on now and put in some big performances as we’ve a tough run coming up.”
The Can-Cans took the lead on 19 minutes when Lee Fraser was played through on the right flank and drove the ball past Joe Barbour from 18 yards to notch his 150th goal for the club.
The home side replied just before the hour when Scott Barbour, who had only come on two minutes earlier, was on hand to force the ball home from six yards after fellow substitute Ryan Sargent’s cross wasn’t dealt with by the visitors’ defence.
Barbour then gave the Broch the lead on 68 minutes. Wood made a great run down the left and picked out Sean Butcher, who saw his shot blocked. The rebound fell kindly to Barbour and he rifled the ball past Lee Herbert.
Forres manager Steven Macdonald said: “We put a lot into the game and the boys feel they should have got something out of the match.
“We went in with a lead at the break and we know Fraserburgh are going to come at us in the second half shooting down the hill.
“But I don’t think they’ve beaten us with any great brilliance – two quite scrappy goals from our point of view.”