JACK Maclean headed in a late equaliser as Nairn County fought back from two goals down to scramble a draw on a freezing night at Kynoch Park.
Keith looked to race out of the blocks and had a shout for a penalty in the first minute after working the ball down the left but the Nairn defence managed to hack clear from inside the six-yard box.
Nairn responded on 10 minutes when Jack Maclean’s long range shot landed at Callum Maclean’s feet but his shot-on-the-turn from 12 yards flew over the bar.
The hosts took the lead three minutes later. Nairn gave away possession cheaply with Daniel Hoban’s throw out to Inaki Fernandino-Soto behind the wide man and going out for a throw-in. Keith took the shy quickly and Sam Robertson delivered a deep cross to the far post which was powered home by the head of Cammy Keith.
Keith doubled their lead on just 16 minutes. Michael Selfridge was allowed to advance down the left flank and drive inside before delivering a low cross to the far post where Kerr Smith was on hand to apply the finish.
The hosts almost added a third on 29 minutes but Hoban did well to dive to his right to keep out Stewart Hutcheon’s swerving grounder from the right-edge of the penalty area.
Nairn broke forward on 38 minutes with Adam Porritt slipping Dylan Mackenzie in on goal from the right but his low shot across goal trickled just past the far post.
It was Nairn’s turn to look for a flying start to the half with Jordan MacRae chopping back on to his right foot from the by-line on the left just after the restart but his powerful drive was blocked for a corner.
Then, Jack Maclean saw his first time shot at the near post off a cut back from the left blocked for a corner and from the resulting set piece, MacRae beat goalkeeper Harrison Sharp the air but the ball was hacked clear by the man on the far post.
Another goal line clearance saved Keith on 52 minutes. Tom Maclennan whipped across an in-swinging free kick from the left that was headed past Sharp by Callum Maclean at the far post but the ball was booted away by a defender on the line.
Keith responded a minute later with Cammy Keith slipping in Selfridge on the right but he clipped his left-footed shot across goal and beyond the far post.
MacRae then chased down a lost cause for Nairn 15 minutes from the end and out-muscled the defender but with no options for a cross in the middle, he fizzed a shot just wide of the top left-hand corner.
The visitors pulled one back with 13 minutes left for play. Adam Porritt’s throw-in from the right was misjudged by a defender with the ball finding itself at the feet of Jordan MacRae. He turned down the outside of his marker before drilling a low shot into the far corner of the net from a tight angle.
Nairn had a chance to level five minutes from the end when MacRae slipped Dylan Mackenzie through on goal but his drive struck the left-hand post with Ryan MacDonald’s follow up under pressure from a defender held by Sharp.
But the visitors grabbed their point two minutes later with Jack Maclean running on to Cohen Ramsay’s floated cross from the left to power home a header.
Keith – Sharp, Hutchison, Spink, Manson, R. Robertson, Begg (Brownie 20), S. Robertson (Kerr 68), A. Smith (yellow 51), Keith, K. Smith, Selfridge (Berton 88). Subs unused: Keir, Lennox, Ralton, Stuart (gk).
Nairn County – Hoban, Porritt, J. Maclean, Callum Maclean, Glenn Main, Ramsay, D. Mackenzie, Maclennan (MacDonald 60), Ewan (MacBean 82), MacRae, Fernandino-Soto (K. McKenzie 31). Subs unused: Highet, Cuthbert, Cameron Maclean, D. Maclean (gk).
Referee – Darren Munro.
Pictures by Donald Matheson