THE under-20s completed their preparations for the Football Times Cup first round tie with St Duthus on Saturday as they took on Burghead Thistle in a friendly match at Forest Park last night.
Ciaran Young struck before the break to give Nairn a slender lead at the interval before a double early on in the second half from Tyler Eadie put County well in control.
But Burghead fought back to reduce to deficit to just one having netted two goals of their own before grabbing a draw with the last kick of the game.
Nairn under-20s head coach Stuart Finnie said: “They were the better team in the first half without really threatening too much – they had a lot of crosses into the box but we dealt with them.
“Again, we can play better but we are getting there and the boys who moved up from the under-17s in the summer are looking more comfortable and building confidence. We have a really good, young squad and it is important that they have the hunger to keep learning and also to learn from mistakes. Mark (Greig, assistant coach) and I are just looking for them to keep trying to do the right things and to give everything in training and games.
“Regardless of it being a friendly, it still irks you throwing away a three-goal lead but that just comes down to a lack of experience. We are all really looking forward to the Tain game on Saturday and once again playing in the North Caledonian League’s cup competitions. Hopefully we can progress but it will take a big performance and a more complete performance in order to achieve that.”
Goalkeeper Fraser Wilkie made a fine save to keep Nairn level as he clawed the ball away from the goal line before County went in front. Ciaran Young got the break of the ball inside the penalty area and he netted a composed finish with his weaker right foot.
It was nearly two for Nairn when Eadie played an inviting ball across the face of goal but Ryan MacBean could not quite connect to apply the finish.
The visitors flew out of the traps in the second half and doubled their lead with Young beating the goalkeeper to a through pass before squaring for Tyler Eadie to tap home.
A fine second goal of the night for Tyler Eadie put County in control as he beat one man down the line on the right before cutting inside and taking on another and then blasting a rising effort into the top left corner from 20 yards out.
Burghead grabbed themselves a lifeline though with goalkeeper Aidan Stewart being rounded and the ball rolled home before the hosts netted again after breaking well to score off a Nairn free kick forward.
Nairn almost re-established their two-goal lead but the Burghead goalkeeper did well to keep out Joe Cuthbert’s shot from 20 yards before Craig McDermott blasted into the side netting from a tight angle on the left.
Just when it looked as if the Nairn youngsters would hold out for the win, disaster struck in the final minute. A free kick from the edge of the County box was clipped to the far post and headed in by the Burghead player from a yard out to make it three goals apiece.
Nairn County – Wilkie (Stewart 46), Cuthbert, McDermott, Robertson, Wheeler (Barron 60), Cameron Maclean (Cruden 60), Eadie, Campbell (Davidson 55), MacBean, Young (Geddes 65), Mitchell. Subs unused: - .