JUST when it looked as if Nairn County had earned a point against Wick Academy, the visitors to Station Park broke upfield and snatched a late winner to the disappointment of Ronnie Sharp.
Wick led at the interval thanks to Steven Anderson's goal which was harsh on the hosts but they battled back after the restart and found a leveller six minutes from time when Academy goalkeeper Sean McCarthy fumbled Ross Naismith's cross over the line.
The Scorries broke up the park to grab a winning goal three minutes later though as County hunted for a winner.
"It was a tough one to take," Sharp conceded.
"We lost the winner with a few minutes to go and that is disappointing after we worked so hard to get ourselves back in a position to get a point out of the game."
"The ball went 90 yards for their winning goal after we lost the ball from our own attack. That has happened a couple of times this year and we need to do better with the ball in the last third. We were in a good position down the right and there was no need to rush it but Wick then broke forward and scored."
"We lost the ball while we were on the attack and we cannot afford to do that. There were only three minutes to go and people can say it was down to Jack (Maclean) being injured and us not having any subs left but we were down in the opposite corner of the pitch and in possession. It is very hard to take."
Sharp felt there was some naivety on the part of his young team as they chased a winning goal which proved so costly in the end.
He said: "We had just got back into the game in the last couple of minutes and we should not have committed to try and win it. The players should know that but we committed too many bodies forward, so when we lost the ball, it was only five or six passes later that it was in the back of the net."
The manager added: "I did not think there was much between the two teams. They had one shot on target in the first half and it was a goal and Dylan (Maclean) had one save to make it the second half and that was about it."
"I thought we were organised, defended well and looked good countering on the break. We still have to do better in the last third though. That is a weakness we have at the moment and Wick showed how it was done with the last goal - they picked the right pass at the right time, got the ball wide, played it across the face of the goal to the back post and then it was in. Quite a few times we got ourselves into good positions like that but did not pick the right pass."
Sharp was critical of the attitude of his players following last weekend's match against Strathspey Thistle but has seen a vast improvement over the last week.
He said: "I cannot fault them for that. They worked really hard and we made a couple of changes to the team as well with boys coming in and they all did well."