IT was the same old story for Nairn County according to manager Les Fridge as his side failed to kill off Forres Mechanics and had to settle for only a point, writes Graeme Macleod.
County raced into a well-deserved 2-0 lead at half time and should have been out of sight before the interval. But despite completely dominating the opening 45 minutes, Nairn found themselves level just 18 minutes into the second half.
Fridge said: "I have said it to the players all season - my biggest criticism of us is that we do not kill off teams when we are streets ahead and creating lots of chances."
"If we had come in ahead by four or five goals at half time this afternoon then no one would have batted an eyelid. We came in at 2-0 though and went out in the second half thinking it was going to be much and such the same. We then lost the ball from our centre, which I thought set the tone. They then got an early goal to get back in the game and it went from there."
"I stressed to the players at half time the way Forres play, which is basically hitting the boy (Lee) Fraser up front and playing off that. I have watched them a few times and they are very strong and dangerous from set pieces. They scored from two of them today and we should have been able to deal with that - we should have been strong enough in these positions, so that it was not such a threat."
"We brought on Easter (Gregg Main), Conor (Gethins) and Tony (Wallace) and for the last 15 minutes, I thought we came right back into the game. We had them camped in their own half but it should never have got to that stage. We should never have been in a position where we were chasing to get the win but we have been like that all season. We are a team who create a lot of chances but we need to be ruthless and when we are on top, we need to take these chances and kill the game."
Fridge saw Glenn Main and John Cameron score during a first half that was played almost exclusively in the Forres half with the hosts failing to even call Calum Antell into action.
The boss added: "We played a lot of good football in the first half and even in the second half at 2-2 we had the chances to go in front again."
"Mo had a right good chance which (Stuart) Knight saved, it came back to him and then he put it just wide, Sam (Urquhart) had a wee half chance and the cross came in to Tony Wallace on the edge of the six-yard box but it was just a bit behind him and he could not turn it in."
"There were still positives in the second half but in the first half, we played some really good stuff. Even with the changes that we made from Wednesday night, we played a lot of good football and once again, we find ourselves not having won a game that we should have."
County fans were anticipating a second half deluge at the interval if their team could find a third goal early on in the second half such was their dominance of the opening 45 minutes. That never looked likely from the off though, as Forres came out rejuvenated after the break and determined to make the host of being let off the hook.
Fridge stated: "We lost the ball within a couple of seconds of taking centre at the start of the second half and that set the tone. That just should not happen and although that is not what caused the goal, it set the tone for the second half and we just seemed to stop playing football, knocking the ball wide and getting it into feet like we got so much joy from in the first half."
He added: "Graham Fraser had a free header (for the first goal) and that should not have happened. He is a big, strong boy and he did not even have to jump to head the ball in."
"For the second one, their boy headed it down and Mo (Michael Morrison) has tried to clear it but it fell to Lee Fraser to score."
"It is one of their strengths and they score a lot of goals from set pieces but we should have been able to deal with it better."
The manager believes County's points tally would be somewhat higher if his side was able to take a higher percentage of the chances they create during games.
"It is definitely something I will address in the summer," he stated. "But at the same time, I would be more concerned if we were not creating the chances."
"It is not as if they are all dropping to one or two players. They are falling to a variety of people throughout the team and it is a difficult one because on another day, the chances go in and you are looking at a comfortable win but it seems to be that we create a lot of chances but do not take enough of them to see the game out."