Match Report - By Steven Mew
For the first time this season, City failed to get on the scoresheet following a stalemate with Nairn County at Station Park yesterday afternoon.
City struggled to get into any kind of rhythm throughout the 90 minutes and credit must go to a Nairn side who worked extremely hard for what was a deserved point.
Manager Andy Kirk opted to go with the same side that defeated Wick Academy last weekend, with Hamish Thomson returning to the bench.
It was clear to see from the opening whistle that a rejuvenated home side, with just 1 defeat in 13, were up for the game. On 6 minutes there was a scare for City – Lenny Wilson was quickly off his line to block an attempted lob from Sam Gordon, and with the goal gaping, the Nairn attacker could only head onto the roof of the net from the rebound.
Gordon would come close again on 13 minutes when a searching cross found him at the back post but Wilson got down well to keep out his first time volley.
The home side continued to threaten five minutes later when experienced frontman Conor Gethins flicked a header just wide of the post from Howarth’s cross.
Despite Nairn being very quick to close down, City started to have a bit more of the ball and the visitor’s first real effort on goal came just before the hour mark when Scott lashed a left-footed shot straight at the keeper.
There was a real let off for Nairn on 34 minutes when keeper MacLean’s attempted clearance ended up at the feet of Biabi but with the goal at his mercy, he was unable to keep his shot down on the turn.
City continued to look for the breakthrough with Biabi shooting wide of the near post and on the stroke of half time, McGrath blazed over the bar from Koutsimouka’s cutback.
Andy Kirk’s side needed to step up a gear in the second half but truth be told, the game continued in a similar manner with Nairn giving City very little time on the ball.
Just two minutes into the second half a rampaging run from Gordon saw him break clear of the City defence but again Wilson did supremely well to come off his line to block his shot and gather at the second attempt.
Just a minute later at the other end, Koutsimouka whipped in an inviting cross for Biabi who couldn’t get enough on his header which ended wide.
On 54 minutes the home side very nearly broke the deadlock when a long ball forward was fumbled under pressure by Wilson – the ball fell kindly for Tokely inside the box before his effort flew over the bar.
After some good work by Scott down the right hand side, his cross was cleared only as far as Bain 25 yards out but he couldn’t keep his shot down.
With ten minutes remaining, City were awarded a free kick 20 yards out following a foul on Scott by Tokely. Loudon stepped up to take the free kick but his strike lacked conviction and was comfortably saved down low by MacLean.
With a few minutes remaining, City searched for what would have been a dramatic winner with Loudon having a shot deflected wide and the same player would threaten again shortly after with another deflected shot which the keeper was equal to.
In the dying seconds, City’s Kevin McHattie was given a second yellow for dissent but there wasn’t enough time left for the home side to take advantage of the extra man.
A draw was a fair result on the day, and it meant City have now gone an entire calendar year without a league defeat. Next up is a home fixture against Inverurie Locos on Saturday (2pm KO).
Other Results - Breedon Highland League
Brora Rangers 0 Fraserburgh 1
Buckie Thistle 3 Keith 0
Deveronvale 2 Turriff United 0
Formartine United 4 Clachnacuddin 0
Forres Mechanics 1 Banks O' Dee 2
Huntly 2 Lossiemouth 1
Inverurie Locos 4 Strathspey Thistle 0
Rothes 2 Wick Academy 2