RONNIE Sharp thought today's game at Buckie Thistle could have gone either way with his Nairn County side competing with the league leaders, who were relieved to hear the final whistle to add another three points to their tally despite the visitors being reduced to 10 men.
Kevin Fraser lashed Buckie in front during the first half although the goal had a good deal of fortune about it with the strike appearing to be straight at goalkeeper Dylan Maclean until it deflected off Callum Maclean and wrong-footed the County stopper.
Nairn were reinvigorated after the break though and Wayne Mackintosh fired home an equaliser but just as County were beginning to pose a real threat, Gary Kerr picked up a second yellow card and was dismissed.
Buckie took advantage of the extra man to nick a winner in a tight contest with Stuart Taylor converting Fraser's low ball across goal at the far post.
Sharp said: "I thought the performance levels were high, although we lacked a bit of composure and communication in the first half but we worked really hard to contain them. We maybe did not pose them a great threat in the first half but we did not really look like losing a goal and it was just a deflection that took their opener away from the goalkeeper."
"In the second half, I thought we played really well and even when we were down to 10 men, we managed to put them under a good bit of pressure. We scored an excellent goal and played really well - the communication levels were a lot better in the second half and the players showed a good attitude."
Kerr was booked early on in the match and received his second yellow card just after the hour mark.
Sharp said: "It was for a couple of late challenges with the second one a bit rash. It was a booking and losing Gary put us under pressure. That is the way we look to play though - closing boys down from the front. There was no malice in the tackle, it was just slightly late."
"Even after that, we took the game to them and I thought it was pretty even in the second half. Dylan never had too much to do in goal and it is not as if we were under pressure all of the time. I thought that the effort we put in was superb."
Mackintosh's goal came just after the restart with Jordan Macrae pulling the ball back for the on-running skipper to blast home from 15 yards.
Sharp revealed: "It is something we have worked on at the training pitch and the boys took it from there into the game. It was an excellent cross from Jordan to pick Wayne out and a superb finish. We were looking dangerous at that point and then went down to 10 men and probably took five or 10 minutes to find a bit of self-belief again. We were under pressure immediately after the sending off but we regrouped and I thought everybody played really well."