LES Fridge was thrilled to end local rivals' Clachnacuddin's season by dumping them out of the Highland League (Morganti) Cup and see his troops march into the last four of the competition in the process, writes Graeme Macleod.
Robbie Duncanson and Conor Gethins struck to put County two goals in front after just 18 minutes and although Ryan Macdonald struck for Clach after the restart, Nairn held on to setup a semi-final date with Turriff United on Saturday.
Fridge said: "It is always nice to get to a semi final and have a bite at getting to a final. We knew what to expect at Clach with it being a local derby and I read a comment from their club captain, Gordie Morrison saying it is Clach's last chance to salvage something from what has been a very poor season, so we knew they would come out all guns blazing and have a right go. With that in mind, it is a good win over the piece and we have to be happy."
Nairn put in a great first half performance and could have been out of sight prior to the interval, such was their dominance.
Fridge added: "I thought we played a lot of good football in the first half and scored two very good goals. Conor then had another very good chance just before half time when he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper but he hit the side netting. If that had gone in and made it 3-0 before half time then the game would have been dead and buried but at 2-0, there is always a wee chance that they might come back."
Clach were on top for the majority of the second half, enjoying the lion's share of possession but County defended well to restrict their hosts to few clear cut chances.
Fridge said: "They changed it about with Gordie Morrison coming on and just went route one up to him playing from back to front. I thought we should have handled that better. We tended to sit in during the second half and although they had a lot of possession, I do not think they really hurt us or created a lot of opportunities. Calum Antell only had two saves to make the whole game and they hit the post late on."
"Even the goal was straight at Calum Antell but he slipped. It was a save I would expect him to make any day of the week if he did not slip. That obviously gave them a lift and they then had nothing to lose, so threw everything at us. We defended well though and still had a couple of decent chances in the second half. Over the piece, I thought we did more than enough to win the game and get through to the semi finals."
Nairn now look forward to Saturday's semi-final, their first at home in this competition for 15 years when Jamie Watt's golden goal at Station Park took Deveronvale through to the final.
Fridge commented: "The disappointing thing is that we do not have a lot of time to prepare and our squad is decimated for Saturday. At the same time, it is a semi final and it will give other boys a chance but it will be all hands to the pump. We are looking forward to it."