LES Fridge said in the build-up to today's Menzies Distribution North of Scotland Cup final that the team who made the least mistakes and took their chances would emerge with the silverware and the boss felt he was proved correct, writes Graeme Macleod.
Fridge watched his side start brightly before being struck by a Wick opener in their first foray into the Nairn half before County came back to dominate the next 20-or-so minutes only to be floored by two further Wick goals in as many minutes on the half-hour.
That left Nairn with a mountain to climb but they made significant progress towards the summit with plenty of time to spare thanks to Alan Pollock's strike just 11 minutes after the break but Wick hit back before the hour-mark to effectively kill the contest.
Fridge said: "I thought we started the game well and Wick only had three shots on goal in the first half but scored all three of them. We had four really good chances in the half and did not take any of them."
"I thought the first goal set the tone of the game. It came when we were very much on top because we had started really well. It came from a long ball, which was flicked on and then Calum Antell came and took the boy down on the edge of the box and that was his first involvement because they had not had a shot at goal yet."
"Everything they hit seemed to go in today and it was one of those days for us. We got ourselves back into the game at 3-1 and then gave away a goal straight after it to go to 4-1. Easter (Gregg Main) was then sent off and it was just damage limitation for us from there on."
The Scorries were clinical in the final third and with the opening goal always likely to be key, the Caithness men did not look back after Richard MacAdie opened the scoring from the spot just seven minutes in.
Fridge added: "We were punished for every mistake we made and all of the clear chances they had, they scored from. When you look at the first half, all they had was three real chances and they scored from all of them whereas we had four really good chances and did not score any of them. It is a very disappointing."
As well as seeing his side score twice, Alan Pollock hit the crossbar and the likes of Tony Wallace and Robbie Duncanson test Sean McCarthy in the Wick goal, Fridge also saw a goalmouth scramble in each half where the Academy defenders somehow managed to prevent a County goal on both occasions. Firstly, Wallace and Gethins were unable to force the ball home after Pollock's effort against the woodwork in the first half and then Wallace was out of luck again after the restart when he was unable to sort his feet out to turn the ball home after McCarthy had dropped a Pollock cross under pressure from Urquhart.
Fridge commented: "The goalie dropped the ball just before we scored our first goal and it ran along the line and did not go in and you begin to think that it is not going to be your day."
Fridge will now look for a positive reaction from his players when Deveronvale visit Station Park next Saturday.
He said: "We have done very well in this cup whereas it is the first time they have won anything. On the day, it was Wick's day and it is disappointing for us to get to a cup final and not to win it, because we have done well in this competition over the years. We have been here before though and bounced back from bigger setbacks - we now just have to forget about it and move on."