Broch suffer defeat on return to duty

Scott Barbour challenges to keep control of the ball.
Scott Barbour challenges to keep control of the ball.

A hat-trick from Nairn County’s Conor Gethins was to prove the difference between Fraserburgh and their visitors on the Broch’s return to Highland League duty, having missed several weeks due to the wintry weather.

But their lack of games did not seem to have taken away the attacking edge that Broch fans have come to expect from manger Kris Hunter’s sides.

Steven MAIN looked to have set the Broch on their way in the opening stages of the game when he dropped in past an initially lacklustre Nairn defence to loop a ball into the net, but rather than shock the visitors, the goal seemed to galvanise the Station Park side.

Less than 10 minutes later, Conor GETHINS started as he meant to go on in the match with a left-footed shot from outside the box, the ball whipping into Paul Leask’s right-hand corner for the leveller.

Gethins’ second came in more controversial fashion, Gregg Main going off injured for the visitors and leading to a free-kick.

GETHINS, finding himself free of a marker to blast the ball past Leask again.

Just before half-time, the Broch went further behind when Steven ELLIS pounced on a ball that Gethins had beaten Leask with to tap home the visitors third.

Hunter, at the restart, sent on Peterhead striker P. A. Bruce in place of Marc Dickson to find a way back into the game.

And, whilst the response was not immediate from the Brochers, at the hour mark Grahan Johnston, himself on as a substitute, warmed the hands of Nairn ‘keeper Callum Donaldon, the ball spilling for Scott BARBOUR to knock the rebound home.

With the game still to play for, the game began to open up into an end-to-end affair, the Broch pressuring their visitors at every opportunity.

But when Ryan Christie picked up his second yellow of the day for a challenge in the box, the Broch’s hopes were shattered as GETHINS stepped up to convert from the spot, firing the ball into the right-hand corner for his hat-trick - his third of the season.

With that loss, the Broch find themselves in 11th place in the Highland League, 20 points adrift of leaders Wick Academy, but with two games in hand.

This Saturday, they will travel to Clachnacuddin, providing the winter chill does not put the brakes on the Broch’s push up the table.