HUNTLY goalkeeper Andrew Pennycook saved his side from a heavy defeat at Station Park, according to County boss Les Fridge. The manager insists that the towering stopper can be proud of his performance to resist a number of Nairn attacks last night, writes Graeme Macleod.
Conor Gethins scored the only goal of the game 23 minutes in but the anticipated onslaught failed to materialise despite incessant Nairn attacks. That was mainly down to the performance of the impressive Pennycook between the posts.
Fridge said: "He had a couple of good saves in the first half but you are talking about a good five, six or maybe seven really good saves in the second half, three or four of which were one-on-one. If we scored one of those, it would have been a totally different game but at 1-0, Huntly were always in the game."
He added: "It was a good performance. We started the game really well and there looked to be a bit more energy about us."
"We totally dominated about 90 percent of the game but they were always going to push forward and have a go the longer it stayed at 1-0. They did that in the last five minutes, when they threw everybody up and went for it. The game should have been killed off before that though."
"It was a good enough performance, a clean sheet and three points."
Callum Maclean, Andrew Skinner and Tony Wallace were all restored to a County starting line up which featured a makeshift-looking defence.
Fridge said: "You also have to look at the players who were missing. Mo (Michael Morrison), Bobo (Martin MacDonald) and Paul Macleod were all missing while Ross Naismith was away, Toshy (Wayne Mackintosh) was out injured and Sean Webb came off on Saturday with a back injury."
"From day one of this season, I have not actually had a full squad to pick from for a single game. The boys who came in today did well and there is competition for places. It is all about performances now."
Despite the absences of Morrison, Macleod, MacDonald and Webb, County were still able to keep a clean sheet, which heartened Fridge after the disappointing defensive showing at Wick on Saturday.
He said: "Huntly's movement up front was quite good at times and they played a lot of balls up to the striker on the break and then had the third man runner coming from the middle of the park. We got to grips with that, although you are always going to have a couple of hairy moments in any game. Over the piece, I thought we played some good football, scored a really good goal and on another night, we could have been here having scored three or four."