TWICE Nairn County led this derby match at Grant Street but twice Clachnacuddin instantly replied before striking once more late on to take all three points.
The visitors will be left wondering how they never took anything out of the game having had the best of the chances in the first half and starting the second half in the ascendancy before shooting themselves in the foot at the other end.
The woodwork kept Clach level on seven minutes with Cohen Ramsay working the ball across from the right to Dylan Mackenzie at the far post but his effort struck the upright before Ewen Urquhart saw his follow up blocked by a sliding defender.
Glenn Main strode forward from defence on 19 minutes and linked up well with Max Ewan before taking the return and letting fly from 28 yards but with Steven Martin in the Clach goal beaten, the ball floated just wide of the right-hand post.
Max Ewan then left Martin MacDonald for dead with a neat turn inside the box to the right of goal on 26 minutes. But his low shot from an acute angle drifted beyond the far post.
Martin made a fine save to keep Clach level four minutes from half time. Substitute Tom Maclennan – on for the injury Ryan MacDonald midway through the half – stepped up to a free kick just outside the right-edge of the D and whipped the wall through the wall towards the far corner of the net. But the Clach goalkeeper threw himself to his right to get a fingertip to the ball and divert it around the post.
The visitors went ahead a minute into the second half. Ewan did well to link up with Ramsay just inside the box with the latter picking out Dylan Mackenzie 10 yards out at the far post. He drilled the ball across goal from an acute angle with his shot coming back off the inside of the far post for Max Ewan to tap in from a few yards.
But Clach drew level just six minutes later with Nairn the architects of their own downfall. Callum Ednie was short with a pass to Glenn Main, allowing Scott Dunn to nip in and he squared the ball across the box. Kenny McKenzie slipped in his attempts to clear with Blair Lawrie arriving on the scene to clip the ball home from 15 yards.
Lawrie was inches away from putting his team in front on 58 minutes but his clipped free kick from 20 yards out to the left of goal flew just over the crossbar.
Nairn went back in front on 65 minutes with Urquhart feeding the ball square to Adam Naismith at the edge of the box. The midfielder’s low drive was parried by Martin but the ball dropped straight o Max Ewan, who tapped home his second of the game.
But County’s lead lasted just a minute this time with a clipped ball into the Clach box picking out the unmarked Scott Dunn and with Dylan Maclean advancing from his line, the big centre forward was able to loop home a header to level it up once more.
Dunn almost added his second on 74 minutes after racing in behind Ednie but his low shot on the angle from the left was held by Dylan Maclean.
The hosts won it 13 minutes from the end. Logan worked the ball across from the right to Alasdair Gillies and he spun before planting the ball beyond the reach of Dylan Maclean from just outside the box.
Kenny McKenzie received a caution on 82 minutes despite being Callum Maclean who made the offending challenge, which meant when he slid in on Scott Dunn four minutes later he was given his marching orders.
Clachnacuddin – Martin, MacRae, Mackintosh (yellow 81), Webb, MacDonald, Robertson, Lawrie (Gillies 63, MacAskill, Dunn, Chalmers (y 71), McInnes (Logan 54). Subs unused: MacKillop, Fraser, McBride, Maclean, Ridgers (gk).
Nairn County – D. Maclean (yellow 77), Ednie (Cameron Maclean 75), K. McKenzie (y 82, 86), Callum Maclean, Glenn Main, Naismith, MacDonald (Maclennan 25), Urquhart, D. Mackenzie (y 57), Ramsay, Ewan. Subs unused: Dey, Cuthbert, Davidson, Eadie, Kendall (gk).
Referee – Scott Leslie.
Pictures By Donald Matheson.