THE under-20s season ended with a friendly defeat to Inverness Amateur team NMM Sam’s at Station Park as coach Stuart Finnie fielded another young squad with 10 of the 17 players used coming from this year’s under-17s pool.
Both sides had chances early on with Euan Wheeler heading a Sam’s header off the goal line on nine minutes with Sam Gordon racing forward down the right two minutes later before feeding Matty Macleod but the striker screwed his low shot across goal and wide.
County opened the scoring 23 minutes in with Matty Macleod flicking up a pass infield from the left before juggling the ball as he spun and then crashed a 20-yard volley into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
The hosts went close again two minutes later with Reece Barton glancing a header past the far post off a Sam Gordon corner from the right.
Then, at the other end, Fraser Wilkie raced off his line to make a great one-on-one save on 26 minutes before Cameron Maclean’s low cross from the right took a bobble just as Matty Macleod arrived on the scene at the far post, resulting in the striker scooping the ball over.
The visitors found an equaliser on 31 minutes though with a powerful strike from 25 yards out flying high beyond the rooted Wilkie.
Nairn threatened again on 39 minutes after good pressing by Sam Gordon won possession high up the park. He found Ryan MacBean who teed up Macleod but his shot was blocked by the goalkeeper with MacBean brushed off the follow up by a defender.
It was the visitors who found the third goal of the game on the stroke of half time to go in with a one-goal advantage. A throw-in from the left was worked inside with the ball being turned home from a few yards out.
County were first to threaten after the break with Jack Maclean meeting a Macleod corner from the left with a flashing header that flew straight into the goalkeeper’s arms.
NMM Sam’s were inches away from increasing their lead on 51 minutes with a shot off the underside of the crossbar before Wilkie threw himself to his left to push the follow up around the post.
Seamus McConaghy came on for the injured Sam Gordon on 59 minutes and just a minute later, he delivered an out-swinging cross from deep on the right that was headed just wide by MacBean at the near post.
A neat through pass by Joe Cuthbert put Macleod in on goal but the Sam’s goalkeeper stood up well to block the Nairn attacker’s shot.
The visitors made sure of their win 13 minutes from the end as Nairn were unable to clear their lines off a corner with the ball slipped through on the left and a shot bent across substitute goalkeeper, Aidan Stewart.
But Nairn pulled one back with Alex Geddes rising highest in the box on 86 minutes as he met Seamus McConaghy’s in-swinging corner from the left with a header that flew into the net for his first under-20s goal.
Nairn County – Wilkie (Stewart 66), Wheeler, Jack W. Maclean, Barton, Tweedie (Colliar 72), McDermott (Cuthbert 63), Campbell (Given 68), Cameron Maclean, MacBean (Geddes 72), M. Macleod (MacBean 82), Gordon (McConaghy 59). Subs unused:
Referee – Mark Dalton.