MAX Ewan and Tom Maclennan both marked their first starts for Nairn County with a goal at Fort William as the visitors took all three points in the swirling wind on a tricky night in Lochaber.
Nairn produced a couple of early half chances with Jordan MacRae seeing a free kick from wide on the left and a 20-yard snap shot both go off target before Dylan Mackenzie looked to put County’s top scorer in on goal but he was thwarted by the Fort’s trialist goalkeeper, who raced quickly off his line to make a block.
Mackenzie looked to go through on goal himself on 14 minutes before pulling the trigging and putting his shot over the crossbar.
Fort William produced the first shot on target of the game on 17 minutes but Barna Tot’s first time effort from just outside the left edge of the Nairn penalty area was watched all the way by Ryan Macleod, who made a comfortable save.
New signing Tom Maclennan’s tested Fort William’s trialist goalkeeper with a 22-yard free kick on 19 minutes but the Lochaber club’s number one punched the ball away to safety.
Nairn struck the post 20 minutes in with Dylan Mackenzie’s header off a Kenny McKenzie corner from the right coming back off the inside of the near post.
County struck the woodwork again 11 minutes later when Maclennan’s cross from the left took a deflection off a Fort defender and looped onto the crossbar.
Fort had a great chance to open the scoring 10 minutes before the break when Mark Gillespie was unmarked to meet a corner from the right with a header that he could only direct over the crossbar.
And Nairn made them pay for that miss almost instantly by opening the scoring. Ewen Urquhart did well to keep the ball in play wide on the right and deliver a cross that was not dealt with by the home defence at the far post, allowing Max Ewan to sweep the ball home.
Fort William threatened again two minutes later but Iain Maclellan’s shot-on-the-turn deflected just wide of Macleod’s goal.
Two minutes into the second half, Ewan saw his low ball across goal find its way through to MacRae at the far post but he was denied a goal by a sliding intervention from Gillespie.
Then, on 51 minutes, the ball dropped to Callum Maclean in the Fort William penalty area but from 12 yards out, he dragged his shot past the post.
Nairn made it two on 57 minutes as Tom Maclennan marked his debut with a goal. The midfielder stepped up to a free kick wide on the left and his in-swinging delivery hung in the wind and dropped in at the near post.
Maclennan was inches away from doubling his tally three minutes later when he strode on to Ewan’s low delivery from the right and smashed his 10-yard shot off the underside of the crossbar.
Fort William’s trialist goalkeeper limped off injured on 63 minutes with attacker Stephen Lopez taking over in goal. And from his kick out 10 minutes later, the ball went straight to Ewan and he raced forward but could only place his low shot across goal and inches past the post.
Maclellan threatened to pull a goal back for Fort three minutes from the end but his low shot from the left flew across goal and just wide of the far post.
At the other end, Danny Highet teed up Maclennan but his low shot went just wide of the back post.
Fort William – Trialist (Lingard 63), Rydings, Campbell (yellow 65), Foggo, MacRae (y 68), Gillespie, Tot (A. Taylor 72), Quigg, Gillespie (yellow 79) (Cameron 79), Lopez, Maclellan. Subs unused: L. Taylor, Browett.
Nairn County – R. Macleod, MacDonald, Callum Maclean, Maclennan, Glenn Main, Porritt, Urquhart (Ramsay 57), K. McKenzie, D. Mackenzie (Highet 70), MacRae, Ewan. Subs unused: Fernandino-Soto, Cuthbert, Cameron Maclean, Wilkie (gk).
Referee – Billy Baxter.
Pictures by Donald Matheson