A NIGHT to forget at Mosset Park saw Nairn County suffer their heaviest defeat of the season as Forres Mechanics clocked up a 7-1 success.
County were forced into a late change with goalkeeper Dylan Maclean injured in the warm-up, meaning a quick-fire debut for Daniel Cormack, only secured on loan from Brora Rangers in a nick of time to feature having just met his new team mates for the first time prior to kick-off.
County were knocking the ball about well in the opening stages but it was Forres who opened the scoring on five minutes. Graeme Grant pulled the ball back from the by-line on the left to Craig McGovern and he arrowed a left-footed, first time effort beyond debutant Dan Cormack at his near post from eight yards out.
A goal line clearance prevented Nairn from levelling two minutes later. Gary Kerr beat goalkeeper Stuart Knight to Ross Naismith's lofted pass and rounded the Forres stopper but the angle was too tight and the striker's drive was hacked clear at the expense of a corner.
Then, Kenny McKenzie whipped a low ball in from the left that Graham Fraser just managed to reach before Kerr with the Nairn centre forward poised to pounce.
The visitors levelled it on the half-hour. Paul Macleod performed a neat Cruyff turn inside the centre circle before pinging the ball towards the right corner with the outside of his boot. Ross Naismith scampered on to it and delivered a low cross to the far post where Gary Kerr was on hand to take a touch before slamming home.
The striker could have doubled his tally four minutes later after evading Graeme Grant and racing away from Graham Fraser but he was forced wide by the advancing Knight and the chance was gone.
But Forres were back in front on 37 minutes. County dealt with the danger off a corner kick from the right but when the ball came back in from deep on the right, Stuart Soane was free on the six-yard line to head in.
The Mechanics killed the contest with another three quick goals. Andrew Macrae raced in from the right and although Cormack got down well to save the on-loan attacker's first effort, the Forres man was first to react to the loose ball as he tucked home the rebound on 41 minutes.
Then, Lee Fraser added number four after Nairn were caught 2v2 at the back with the big striker making no mistake after advancing in from the right towards Cormack's goal. Lee Fraser added his second of the night on the stroke of half time after spinning away from Glenn Main and planting a low drive under Cormack.
County almost pulled one back two minutes after the turnaround with Ross Naismith striking the post from 22 yards after bending a free kick up and over the Forres wall.
Then, on 52 minutes, Kerr raced in from the left and smashed a low effort goalwards that was parried by Knight with Naismith hooking the follow-up over the bar.
But Forres increased their lead a minute after the hour-mark. Simon Allan hoisted a cross into the box from the right with Stuart Soane squeezing in between two defenders to direct a header into the bottom right hand corner.
Lee Fraser completed his hat-trick 13 minutes from the end. The centre forward was allowed to turn in the box and despatch a low effort under Cormack.
County almost pulled a goal back on 82 minutes but Naismith's low effort from 12 yards came back off the post as the attacker was denied by the woodwork for the second time.
Then, two minutes later, Jack Maclean went through one-on-one with the goalkeeper but was denied by the legs of the advancing Knight at the edge of the box with Kerr directing the follow-up past the post.
Forres Mechanics - Knight, Allan (Cameron 66), Grant, G. Fraser, Macrae, L. Fraser, Pollock, McGovern, MacPherson, Howarth (Groat 38), Soane (Stuart 76). Subs unused: MacIver, Paterson, Hutcheson, Stuart, Storrier (gk).
Nairn County - Cormack, S. Mackenzie (Macrae 46), C. Maclean, P. Macleod, Glenn Main, Mackintosh, Naismith, K. McKenzie, Kerr, Riddell (J. Maclean 69), Morganti (Mackay 76). Subs unused: D. Mackenzie, Ednie, D. Maclean (gk).
Referee - Billy Baxter.
Pictures by Donald Matheson.