- Created: Sunday, 10 April 2016 14:16
- Published: Sunday, 10 April 2016 14:16
- Written by Ross McTavish
Keeper Joe Malin was the hero for Brora as they lifted the Breedon Aggregates Highland League Cup for the first time in the club’s history.
The goalie played through the pain barrier in his first game since picking up a medial ligament injury to his right knee in the quarter-final win over Formartine on Saturday 5th March.
Malin made some great saves in Saturday’s final at Grant Street Park in Inverness and then when the game went to a shoot-out after a goal-less 120 minutes, managed to stop a spot-kick from Nairn substitute Michael Morrison.
County created the better chances in the match, the first of which came early on when Alan Pollock’s drive from 20 yards was pushed wide by Malin.
At the other end of the park a poor clearance from Nairn’s Calum Antell only went as far as Zander Sutherland, but the keeper made amends by saving the resultant shot from 30 yards out from the Cattachs forward.
On the quarter-hour mark, Pollock had a wonderful opportunity to give his side the lead.
However, after controlling a cross from Sam Urquhart, the midfielder fired his effort wide from 10 yards out.
Brora found it difficult to break through a well organised Nairn team and shortly before the break Dale Gillespie tried his luck from long range which resulted in an acrobatic save from Antell.
County’s best chances continued to fall to Pollock and having cut inside Cattachs left-back Ally Macdonald in the 51st minute, the playmaker blasted his shot over the bar.
After a long spell where both teams struggled to threaten in attack, there were a flurry of chances late on.
With 10 minutes remaining, Nairn substitute Tony Wallace played a pass to Pollock, who shot wide from a tight angle having done well to evade an attempted tackle from Macdonald.
Pollock may have been better playing a pass back to the unmarked Wallace, but chose to go for goal from just wide of the six-yard-box.
Malin, who was limping having aggravated his knee injury, then made great saves to keep out shots from Andrew Skinner and Gregg Main.
There was only one clear-cut opportunity in extra-time, when Brora’s Paul Brindle beat Antell in a race to get on the end of a long-ball forward.
From a difficult angle the substitute striker was only able to turn his effort into the side netting.
In the final minute of extra-time Brora were reduced to 10 men when Martin Maclean was sent off for a reckless lunge at Glenn Main.
There were eight successful penalties in the shootout, before Morrison saw his spot-kick saved by Malin down low to the keeper’s right-hand side.
Sutherland then stepped up to roll his effort into the net from 12 yards out to win the cup for Brora.