IMPROVING Fort William are the visitors to Station Park on Saturday as the Highland League’s bottom side look to continue to claw back their negative points deficit with this game against Nairn County.
It was a tough start to the season and life in Highland League management for the Fort and their rookie boss, Kris Anderson with their plight worsened by the deduction of nine points for fielding an ineligible player in three fixtures. Since then though, the Lochaber-based club has set about attempting to make it back into a positive points tally, starting with an encouraging 1-1 draw with Strathspey Thistle – a result which would have taken them off the foot of the table had it not been for their deduction with lowly Lossiemouth still to get off the mark at that time.
There have also been a number of close run things for the Fort in their quest for further results with a Scottish Cup away tie at Linlithgow Rose looking destined for a replay at Claggan Park prior to the late dismissal of Anderson’s goalkeeper while last week, only an injury-time winner allowed Lossiemouth to take all three points from Lochaber when it looked as if the Fort had secured a share of the spoils with a last-minute goal of their own.
At approximately the very same time as Fort William were conceding that late winner, Inverurie Locos were completing a comeback of their own against a Nairn County side who had led 2-0 going into the final 10 minutes of the match. Two Locos penalty kicks changed all that though, with the second coming in injury-time as the visitors were left frustrated not to take all three points but encouraged by the performance which led to a further point being added to their total and coming against one of the top sides in the Highland League.
You will be able to follow the action from Station Park as it happens through the club’s social media channels by logging on to facebook.com/nairncountyfc or following @NairnCounty on Twitter, with team line-ups available before kick-off, updates of the major incidents from the match as they happen including goals, substitutes, cards and chances at both ends, a report on the final whistle and reaction from the Nairn dressing room later in the evening. A preview of the match is below:
Date: Saturday October 6th 2018
Competition: Scottish Highland Football League
Opponents: Fort William
Manager: Kris Anderson
Venue: Station Park, Nairn
Previous meeting: Nairn County 1 Fort William 0 April 4th 2018
Last time out: Inverurie Loco Works 2 Nairn County 2; Fort William 3 Lossiemouth 4
League position: Nairn County 13th Fort William 18th
Form guides: Nairn County DLWWLD Fort William DLLLLL
Team news: A knee injury is will keep club captain Gregg Main on the sidelines as he awaits a scan to get to the bottom of the problem having limped off in the Scottish Cup tie with Beith a fortnight ago. He will be joined by Adam Naismith, who has only just returned to light training this week following an ankle injury while fellow midfielder, Ewen Urquhart is still away, Danny Highet has work commitments and Inaki Fernandino-Soto is unavailable. Goalkeeper James Kendall is back having missed last Saturday’s trip to Inverurie Locos though.
One to watch: David McGurk. The experienced centre half has gone in as player / assistant manager at Claggan Park and already the difference is noticeable with the Lochaber side’s back line tightening up over the last few weeks. McGurk brings with him a wealth of experience in the Highland League having been a part of the Clachnacuddin defence for several years and it was a shrewd move by manager Kris Anderson to recruit him to not only work with as part of his management team but also to coach and encourage the young Fort William team on the park. The Fort came perilously close to a fantastic Scottish Cup first round draw away at much-fancied Linlithgow Rose with only a late red card for their goalkeeper proving to be the catalyst for the hosts to rattle in three goals in the dying embers of the tie. Then, last week, it took a last-minute goal for Lossiemouth to prevail 4-3 at Claggan Park and this time around, the defence marshalled by McGurk will be determined to do all they can to shut out the Nairn attack and post some more points on the board.
Match officials: Referee Filippo Mazzoni, Assistants Gavin Dearie and Neil Grant.
Weather forecast: Sunny intervals 10 degrees 9 mph wind.
Admission prices: Adults £8 Concessions £5 (two children under the age of 14 are admitted for free if they are accompanied by a paying adult).