A SINGLE goal seven minutes before half time saw Nairn County squeeze past Fort William at Station Park. But it was a hard watch for manager Ronnie Sharp.
The County gaffer admitted his players were far from their best as they were pushed all the way by the Highland League’s basement boys.
“It was not pretty but we will take the three points,” he said at full time.
“We knew fine it would be very hard tonight as Fort William would have had a point to prove after Cove going down there at the weekend and putting 12 past them and I thought they played well.
“It was a tough, tough game for us. We looked lethargic and slow and Fort William got the bit between their teeth. I thought we defended really well and our goalkeeper never really had any saves to make but neither did theirs apart from one or two routine ones.
“Overall, it was a hard game for us, which always seems to happen to us – that is two or three times that teams have had a tough time at the weekend and then played us the following midweek and done well.”
Sharp saw his players dominate possession but fail to ask any serious questions of Fort William stopper, Martin Mackinnon.
The Nairn boss added: “I thought the Fort William boys did very well but our build-up play was very poor. We kept giving it away in the last third – we got into good positions but made the wrong decisions. It was not the best performance from us and we need to vastly improve for Saturday, when we will have quite a few boys missing.”
The only goal came when Max Ewan turned home Dylan Mackenzie’s header back across goal off a Tom Maclennan cross from the left.
“Max is popping up in the right areas,” said Sharp. “He has only just turned 17 and that is him on six goals for the season, including four in the last six games. He seems to be the one who is keeping us in games or winning games for us. He scored down at Fort William when we won down there and again tonight, which is good for him and good for us.”
A first half injury forced Ewen Urquhart off at the interval with the midfielder replaced by Ryan MacDonald.
Sharp added: “Ewen looks like he is very doubtful for Saturday. I thought he was one of our best players in the first half causing all sorts of problems wide on the right. Once he came off, we had to change the shape a bit and it did not work.”