FRUSTRATED Nairn County manager Ronnie Sharp saw his players put in another performance that drew credit from neutral observers. It was nothing less than the travelling support had come to expect given what their favourites had produced so far this season but the boss wants points along with the plaudits.
He saw Graeme Rodger blast Formartine in front after eight minutes before Nairn were dominant in the first half prior to Neil Gauld heading home number two for United.
County again had their fair share of chances after the break but home goalkeeper Ewan MacDonald excelled between the posts in a man of the match performance to thwart the Nairn attackers.
Sharp said: "It has been the story of our season. We played well enough but our decision-making in the last third was poor. The difference between them and us was that they made good decisions and they scored goals. Their goalkeeper made some really good saves but we could have created even more chances. Around the 18-yard box and in the last third, we have got to make better decisions because we are getting in there quite a bit but we are then just giving it away and that is the most disappointing thing. We competed with them well and I did not think there was much in it."
Sharp saw Kenny McKenzie yellow-carded for an apparent dive in the penalty area after the Nairn midfielder appeared to be fouled in the box. It was a crucial stage in the game with County trailing by a single goal to nil.
Sharp said: "I thought it was a penalty because there was no contact with the ball but there was contact with the man. That might have changed the game because if we had scored that then it would have been 1-1 but even without that, their goalkeeper was making a lot of good saves at the time."
"We need to find a way to of putting teams under pressure by scoring early on though. Even after we went 1-0 down, we brought two or three good saves out of their goalkeeper but we were chasing the game."
Sharp again started with teenagers Jack Maclean and Jordan Macrae with youngsters Dylan Mackenzie, Reece Barton and Callum Ednie - who are all to hit their 20s - finishing the match.
The boss stated: "At the end of the game, we had five players who could play in our under-20s on the park with another starting who came off. That is a plus point."
"We were missing the likes of Gary Kerr, Jason Morganti and Paul Macleod though and they are all stronger boys. We are thin on the ground at the moment and hopefully we will have them back in the squad for Friday against Clach."
"That game is very big for us and I am sure it is for them as well but we are struggling for bodies at the moment. It is putting a lot of pressure on the young boys because we have not had the chance to rest them at all when we need to give them a wee break. We have too many injuries and suspensions at the moment and there are boys unavailable next week as well. We will just have to manage with what we have for just now and look to bring in one or two new players in the summer."
Sharp's troops restricted their illustrious hosts to few clear-cut chances with goalkeeper Dylan Maclean rarely being called into action for nothing more than what is now regarded as routine for the improving stopper.
The manager stated: "I thought we were good defensively and in the middle of the park. The boys up front worked hard as well but when we got into the right positions, we need to make better decisions."
"We had a free kick that Gregg (Main) had and the goalkeeper saved it but parried it out into the six-yard box and we had nobody following it up. That is what you need to do but we are not doing that at the moment."
He added: "The defence is doing really well. It is when we go forward and get into the latter stages, we need to slow ourselves down and pick the right pass at the right times or make the right runs. We are not doing that just now but saying that, we had Wayne (Mackintosh) up front today, which is not his natural position but that is just due to circumstances. There is not a lot we can do about that. We need him in the centre of the park."
"We also cannot get the same team out every week and that is a major concern and not helping. But we move on to next week and we will do everything to win that game for the fans and everyone else at the club because we know it means a lot."