Forfar Athletic progressed through to the fourth round of the Scottish Cup on Saturday after surviving another late comeback from Nairn County.
The visitors started the better team, looking to end a run of four games without victory, having several chances in the first 15 minutes. The best of which was from a corner kick by Iain Campbell, the ball falling to Dunlop who had a scuffed shot diverted towards goal by Bolochoweckyj but was stopped on the line by a Nairn defender, Loons’ players claiming for handball but were waved away by ref Euan Anderson.
In the 22nd minute Mark McCulloch played a ball through the defence for Swankie who shot straight at the keeper and when the ball fell to him again took too long to shoot and was dispossessed. Three minutes later Nairn had their first shot at goal when Mackintosh hit a shot from far out that just went wide.
Forfar took the lead in the 41st minute, Chris Templeman heading a long ball into the box, and Gavin Swankie’s resulting shot causing a stramash in the box until it landed at Ross Campbell’s feet, who slotted home from six yards, much to the delight of the 60 or so Loons fans who made the long journey north to Scotland’s other Station Park.
Gavin Swankie made it two in the 54th minute after great play. Chris Templeman won a header in the middle of the Nairn half which fell to Martyn Fotheringham, him and Swankie switched the ball to each other twice through the defence which led to Swankie placing it past the keeper.
The Loons looked to be safe and sound on the hour mark when Chris Templeman played in Swankie who cut the ball back across goal to Ross Campbell who slotted it under the keeper to make it three without reply.
In the 64th minute, Gethins troubled Forfar when his teasing free kick was played in and MacDonald’s header cannoned off the crossbar back into play, the ball then came out to Glenn Main, whose goalward shot was headed away by Ross Campbell. Stephen Tulloch was then replaced by midfielder Barry Sellars, with McCulloch going to right back and Dunlop taking Tulloch’s place in the centre of defence.
Nairn, managed by former St Mirren ‘keeper Les Fridge, piled on the pressure and were unlucky not to score yet again in the 67th minute when a cross was whipped into the Forfar box by Glenn Main and Mackintosh headed just wide.
Charlie King came on for the last 15 minutes with Martyn Fotheringham the man coming off.
County then pulled a goal back with ten minutes to go. Excellent play from Conor Gethins allowed him to curl the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Two minutes later Nairn were given a free kick in a dangerous position, Kevin Motion being given a yellow beforehand for dissent. They almost scored from the free kick when Gethins took the shot but put it just over the bar.
The Loons then raced up the park and almost added a fourth when Swankie beat a defender to cross into the box for Barry Sellars to nod in, but he failed to connect properly and the keeper gathered with ease.
The away fans must have thought déjà vu was away to strike when Nairn scored a second with three minutes to go of normal time, sub John Cameron stabbing from close range to make it 3-2.
Chris Templeman was booked in added on time after Nairn were awarded a free kick and had tried to take it but hit him before he could get out of the way. Dick Campbell then gave Jamie Bishop his first competitive action of the season, taking off Swankie in the process.
Dick Campbell’s men will now play host to fellow Second Division outfit Ayr United in the fourth round of the tournament on Saturday, December 1. This will be the first time that the clubs have faced each other in this competition.