120 MINUTES of action while down to nine men less than three days before this tie proved to be too much for Ronnie Sharp's Nairn County side as the manager the club's Highland League (Morganti) Cup hopes ended for the season in a 3-1 defeat to Turriff United.
Sharp's men only won through to this stage of the competition on Wednesday night after the much-postponed first round tie at Deveronvale finally went ahead at the third attempt. And having been taken to extra time by the Banffers and been reduced to nine men, the fatigue and lack of preparation time was too much for County.
Robbie Allan fired Turriff ahead early on before David Ross headed home a second with just under 10 minutes left until half time.
David Booth swept home United's third after the break before Gary Kerr saw his penalty kick saved with Glenn Main suffering the same fate late on, although the Nairn vice-captain was on hand to ram home the rebound to put County on the scoreboard.
Sharp said: "We looked heavy-legged at the start of the game but we knew that was going to be the case. I thought we had to be a bit stronger mentally than we were. We made mistakes though and they capitalised straight away."
"Even at 2-0, we still had a chance but we made another mistake at the start of the second half and it is a long way back from 3-0 down."
"We still had a lot of chances to score goals but we just did not take them. We missed a penalty and we had two big chances to equalise in the first half but we did not take them either. We looked fit and strong when we were chasing it towards the end of the game but we had to be mentally at the start of it, especially after the 120 minutes on Wednesday night."
Kerr missed from the penalty spot on 63 minutes having earlier passed up the opportunity to level the tie in the first half after being played in on goal by Ross Naismith with Turriff just one in front.
Sharp added: "It is about taking the chances when they come and it has been the story of our season this season. When we do get chances, we do not take them. I thought that their first two goals were half chances but they had the quality to take them. If we are going to improve then we need to take the chances that we are creating. We must put teams under pressure and if the game is 1-1 or even 2-1, then it is a different game all together - they would not be as confident on the ball and we would receive a lift from it as well."
"Even early in the second half, we missed the penalty, which would have made it 3-1, and there still would have been plenty of time and it would have put them under a bit of pressure but we did not take it."
Sharp has seen his side narrowly defeated on numerous occasions this season and is calling on his troops to be more clinical in the final third.
"It is a problem at the moment," he stated. "We do create chances but we do not take them. There have been a lot of close games this year where we have lost by one goal or so and we have had chances in most games. We are not clinical though whereas the top teams are clinical."
Goalkeeper Dylan Maclean was taken off with what appeared to be a serious neck injury just short of the hour-mark.
Sharp revealed: "We are hoping for the best and that it is not a fracture. It looked like the ball hit him in the face and hopefully it is just something like a whiplash injury but it looked like quite a serious one."