AN opportunity missed for players who have been on the outskirts of Ronnie Sharp’s team so far this season was how the manager assessed last night’s disappointing home defeat to Wick Academy.
The hosts ended the game without six first team regulars on the park and the manager felt that their replacements failed to make a positive impression.
He said: “When you take four or five of our big players out of the team, you can see that we really struggle. The strong personalities are not there just now, so it was a big chance for some of the boys who have not been playing recently. But none of them took it.
“Kenny McKenzie picked up an injury, Jack Maclean said he was fit when he was not, Callum Maclean and Gregg Main are injured, Adam Porritt is still on holiday then we are missing Tom Maclennan on Saturday and Fraser Dingwall will be suspended.
“We are down to the bare bones and the stronger personalities are not available just now. It is adult football but some of them seemed to be playing school football tonight.”
Nairn fell behind when Marc Macgregor’s low cross from the left was deflected in at the near post before Max Ewan slammed home an equaliser before the break.
But Wick never looked back after Gary Manson put them back in front from the penalty spot before substitute Craig Gunn’s late double wrapped up the points.
“We were not strong enough mentally or physically,” insisted Sharp. “When we went 2-1 behind, there was no belief in the side at all that they could get back into it. It was disappointing all round.
“Wick started really well and we had not expected them to play the system they setup with, so that confused us a bit but we got it sorted out late in the first half and I thought we finished the half strongly and then started the second half well. But we were never at the races other than that.
He added: “It was a good finish by Max to get us level but these things do not count for anything unless you go on and get something out of the game.”
Wick went back in front from the penalty spot after David Allan was bundled over in the box by Cohen Ramsay as he attempted to meet free kick forward from the right.
Sharp stated: “It was really poor defending in the box from Cohen. You cannot wrestle with the boy, so we can have no complaints about that decision.”
Gunn notched his first goal of the game with his first touch as he latched on to a long kick out forward from his goalkeeper, Sean McCarthy with Glenn Main stepping up to play offside while the rest of the Nairn backline had switched off and stayed deep.
“It was just a comedy of errors,” said Sharp. “But as I said, one of our main defenders (Callum Maclean) was not able to play tonight through injury, another (Kenny McKenzie) had to come off in the first half and another (Fraser Dingwall) was sent off. We were just all over the place at times.”
Sharp was also unhappy to see Dingwall dismissed after an altercation with Michael Steven 15 minutes from the end that saw both men sent off.
The manager said: “Fraser pushed him but it was not in the face – it was in the chest – and it was after a violent act (headbutt) had been committed against him. If you push someone above shoulder height it is a sending off but if it is below that, it is not violent conduct, so I thought it was a really poor decision.”