A YOUNG Nairn County team put in a hard-working and well-organised performance as they saw off Inverness City at Lister Park, writes Graeme Macleod.
Ross Naismith and trialist Calum Riddell struck at either end of the second half for County with skipper Glenn Main the oldest player in Nairn colours at just 31.
Riddell was not the only trialist with Gary Kerr again playing from the start while there were substitute appearances for Jamie Mackay and Kane Hull. Youngsters Callum Ednie and Jack Maclean played from the start with Matty Macleod and Reece Barton appearing from the bench alongside goalkeeper Ryan Macleod, who made his first team debut.
County settled well and struck the woodwork 11 minutes in. Ross Naismith's took on a first-time volley as the ball dropped over his shoulder from 20 yards out to the right of goal and his dipping effort clipped the far post before being hacked clear.
Naismith then provided a deep cross from the right on 21 minutes which Kenny McKenzie managed to get himself on the end of but his shot from a tight angle was deflected into the side netting.
At the other end, Kelvin McKenzie's powerful drive was well dealt with by Dylan Maclean as the young goalkeeper threw himself to his left to prevent the City attacker from opening the scoring.
Glenn Main's free kick forward from just inside the City half on 35 minutes picked out the head of trialist centre forward Gary Kerr and his looping effort had to be tipped over the top by David Harrison in the Inverness goal.
Naismith's curling, left-footed drive from 15 yards out was deflected past the post as County continued to push for an opener.
It arrived three minutes after the restart with the impressive Naismith finding a way through for Nairn.
The enterprising Jordan Macrae was clattered just outside the left edge of the penalty area and Ross Naismith stepped up to whip the resulting free kick over the wall and into the top right corner of the net.
Inverness responded on 56 minutes when McKenzie controlled a diagonal ball out to the left and cut inside Callum Ednie but his snapshot across goal towards the top corner was tipped away by the diving Maclean.
Kerr met a Paul Macleod cross into the box from the right with a header that drifted past the far post on the hour-mark before the centre forward saw his whipped shot from the edge of the box deflected past after he had been teed up by Naismith.
Jack Maclean almost marked his first start for the club with his first goal 15 minutes from time as he ran on to Macleod's inviting low cross from the right but Inverness substitute Donald Horsburgh threw himself into the tackle to nick the ball away and prevent the young midfielder from finding the net.
Jamie Mackay appeared as a second half trialist again and he headed wide off Callum Maclean's cross from deep on left on 83 minutes before the wide man was denied by the legs of Harrison after getting his head on to the end of Maclean's cross from the right two minutes later.
The killer goal arrived three minutes from the end as Nairn made sure of the win. A free kick into the City box from the right was not dealt with and the ball broke to the feet of substitute trialist Kane Hull. His low drive was blocked but fellow trialist Calum Riddell was alert enough to latch on to the loose ball and turn home his second goal in as many games.
Naismith nearly added a third in the last minute after he latched on to Paul Macleod's superb through pass but his attempted lob was tipped away by Harrison.
Nairn County - D. Maclean (R. Macleod 86), Glenn Main, Trialist (Barton 83), P. Macleod, Trialist, J. Maclean (Trialist 83), Naismith, C. Maclean, Trialist (Trialist 78), Macrae (yellow 83) (M. Macleod 78), McKenzie. Subs unused:
Inverness City - Harrison, A. Fraser (Horsburgh 46), Murdoch, MacDonald, J. Fraser, Duncan, Mason (yellow 72), McNab, Mitchell (Corbett 46), McKenzie (y 64), Macphee. Subs unused:
Referee - Billy Baxter.