RONNIE Sharp was left cursing the loss of goals in quick succession for the second Saturday in a row as his Nairn County side were narrowly edged out by Formartine United at Station Park.
There was little to choose between the two teams over the course of the 90 minutes but the visitors did just enough to take the spoils thanks to two goals within four minutes of one another.
Jordan MacRae headed Nairn in front on 20 minutes only for Archie Macphee to plant home the equaliser on 33 minutes.
Ryan Macleod saved a Scott Barbour penalty kick shortly afterwards but Conor Gethins pounced to net from just a few yards out off the resulting corner to earn United’s win.
“We shot ourselves in the foot again,” declared Sharp. “We were 1-0 up and did not look to be under that much pressure but gave away two quick goals. We seem to be losing goals in small batches all the time. They equalised and then were given the penalty just a few minutes later that our goalkeeper saved. You need to switch on when the ball is out of play though and we did not do that because we thought we had got away with it.
“I thought it was a soft penalty. (Adam) Porritt’s hands are not stretched out and I am not sure if it was inside the box or not.
“They are a very good team and we matched them pretty well. The disappointing thing is that is Fraserburgh coming here last week and Formartine today and we have lost by one goal both times. We lost three goals in quick succession to Fraserburgh and then two goals quickly today but then in the second half, we had chances ourselves.
“We are lacking experience in the last third of the park. They have experienced players in that area, so their final ball is excellent whereas we do not quite have that. But other than that, I thought we did well and it was a decent game.”
MacRae’s header was his 18th goal off the season as he glanced home Tom Maclennan’s free kick from wide on the left.
“It was an excellent header,” Sharp stated. “The ball was put in at pace and it was a good connection from Jordan. It was great to get away to a good start and to score from a set piece, which we do not do very often.
“We went to sleep for their first goal though and as I said, once they got the first one, the other one came quickly.”
Seamus McConaghy was handed his debut as he came on as sub with 12 minutes remaining having been called up from the under-20s squad.
Sharp revealed: “He is still only 17 and has been doing well in our under-20s. It is good for players like to be involved and it is the way we are going at the moment. We had quite a few boys out and when we do that, we look to our under-20s squads and I thought Seamus did fine when he got on. He would have been nervous but he did well.”
He added: “There are a lot of good, experienced players in the Formartine side. They had a lot of quality on their bench and have been changing about the team for a lot of the season because they have such a quality squad. Ours is young and inexperienced but they never gave up. Hopefully, over the next few years they will get better and better.”