North of Scotland Cup Semi-Final
Nairn are the Penalty Kings
Defeat for Dunc
Build up: Station Park was the venue for this North of Scotland Cup Semi-final tie against Nairn County. Inverness got here after defeating Rothes in a very tight affair on a stormy night at the end of September. Keith Bray scored the only goal of the game early in the first half. Nairn County have played twice to get here, a 3-2 win over Lossiemouth followed by a 5-0 thrashing of Forres Mechanics on a rain soaked night at Mosset Park. The goalscorers on September 13th were Andrew MacLeod x 2, Callum MacLean, Ciaran Young & Scott Davidson.
Here's the Nairn side from that night at Forres>>>
Two first half goals from MacLean and MacLeod set Nairn up for the win despite the atrocious weather.
Young headed in ten minutes after the break before Forres were reduced to 10 men with Brady being red carded.
MacLeod scored his sixth goal in five games for Nairn when he rifled home from just inside the box.
Davidson ended the scoring five minutes from the end.
Nairn Facts: They were founded in 1914 and play at Station Park. They have played in the Highland Football League since 1919, winning their only league title in the 1975–76 season. The club’s record goal scorer is the legendary Davy Johnston who scored 286 goals in his two spells with the club. This also included scoring a record 73 goals in the 1963–64 season.
Their first five games this season: Scored 1 goal. Last five games: Scored 18 goals (after the game at Forres).
Nairn now sit in tenth place in the table having won four of their last five games
New signing David Wotherspoon the former Hibs and St Johnston midfielder made his debut for the Caley Jags tonight who also welcomed back from injury defender Danny Devine and Captain Sean Welsh.
A great opportunity for some of the fringe players to stake a claim for a first team berth with Harry Lodovica, Robert Thompson, Lewis Hyde and youth player Sam Nixon all starting with Cammy Mackay between the sticks.
Nairn had former Inverness legend Ross Tokely in defence alongside experienced player manager Steven Mackay.
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Caley Thistle almost score in the opening minute. Great ball from Jake Davidson finds Harry Lodovica unchallenged, but he nods wide of the post.
6' | 0-0 Adam Brooks' tame shot from inside the box is saved by the feet of Dylan MacLean as Nairn get clear. ICT then have a good move as Robbie Thompson meets a good ball from Lewis Hyde inside the box but he fires his effort just wide.
9' | 0-0 Chance! The ball breaks to Wotherspoon through on goal but his effort is turned behind by Dylan MacLean for a corner. Nairn get resulting corner clear.
13' An exciting opening spell. 2 big saves from Dylan MacLean, 3 Nairn corners and a handful of half chances. Inverness are threatening on the break but Nairn seem really up for the challenge.
17' | 0-0 Offside. Adam Brooks has the ball in the back of the net after meeting Harry Lodovica's cross in the box but the offside flag is up.
22' | 0-0 Good run from Sean Welsh through the middle and he has a go from about 30 yards but his effort is over the bar.
24' I Ross Tokely booked
26' | 0-0 Good play from Harry Lodovica and he forces a save from Dylan MacLean after meeting a lay off from Adam Brooks in the box after a long ball from Danny Devine.
31' | 0-0 Lewis Hyde has a go from about 25 yards but his low effort is held by MacLean.
33' | 0-0 Sean Welsh's floated in free-kick finds Harry Lodovica in the box but his header is over the bar.
34' | 0-0 Lewis Hyde drives through the middle and the ball breaks to Jake Davidson on the right and his drilled cross is inches past the post.
35' | 0-0 Wotherspoon's cross finds Lodovica in the box but his header is just past the post.
37' | 0-0 Good play from Robbie Thompson in the box after receiving Jake Davidson's ball but his effort is over the bar.
41' | 0-0 ICTFC Sub: Keith Bray on, Sean Welsh off
43' | 0-0 Lewis Hyde's ball finds Adam Brooks in the box and he lays it back to Harry Lodovica and the striker's effort is held by Dylan MacLean
45' | 1-0 Goal. Nairn County take the lead through Ross Tokely with a wee dink
HALF TIME: 1-0
HALF TIME Sub: Shae Keogh on, David Wotherspoon off.
48' | 1-0 Early pressure from ICT in the second-half as Keith Bray sees his header held.
51' | 2-0 Goal. Nairn double their lead through Steven MacKay with a close range header. Free kick taken well, flicked on by Ross Tokely and Steven MacKay puts it away!
58' | 2-0 Chance as Keith Bray's corner breaks to Zak Delaney in the box but he can't fully control it as it goes over the bar and behind.
63' | 2-0 ICTFC Sub: Jack Walker on, Danny Devine off.
65' | 2-1 GOALLLLL! We pull one back through Harry Lodovica who produces a great strike from 25 yards!
66' Chance for Nairn: Strong response to the goal as Nairn create a series of half chances at the other end from kickoff.
69' | 2-1 Speculative effort from Nairn's Andrew MacLeod but his effort goes just over the bar and behind.
74' | 2-1 Robbie Thompson had a go from just outside the box but his effort is held by Dylan MacLean
79' Chance for Nairn: Andrew MacLeod swings a corner in right on top of the keeper. Half the ground thought it was in, unfortunately it was just over. End of a positive spell for Nairn.
81' Chance for Nairn: George Robesten pounces on a rolled out ball, and cuts it across to Ciaran Young, he turns the defender and tries to get a shot away, too tight of an angle and hits the side netting. Dylan MacLean pulls off another top save at the other end from Adam Brooks.
88' | 2-2 GOALLLLL! Harry Lodovica gets his second of the match to make it 2-2! Good finish from inside the box via the post!
90' | 2-2 Harry looks for the hat-trick as he has a go from range but his effort is over the bar.
FULL TIME: Nairn County 2-2 ICTFC We go straight to a penalty shootout!
Nairn: Macleod , Dey , Tokely , Gillies , Young , Robeston , Mackay
Inverness: Davidson , Walker , Hyde , Brooks , Thompson , Harry , Delaney
Defeat at Station Park despite a brace for Harry as Nairn hit seven perfect penalties to win the shoot-out after the game ended 2-2. Sean Welsh left the field before the interval with an injury.
Ross Tokely left his ICT legendary status at home as he scored one, had a hand in the second and scored a penalty in the shoot-out, all at the ripe old age of 44.
Congratulations to Nairn and something for big Dunc to ponder over.
Nairn will face Ross County in the Final after they beat Brora Rangers 3-0 tonight with a hat-trick from Alex Samuels.
Dylan MacLean’s penalty save to put Nairn into the North of Scotland Cup Final— Nairn County FC (@NairnCounty) October 18, 2023