A FLAT performance from the home side at Station Park was punished by Strathspey Thistle as they picked up their first ever win over Nairn County to leapfrog Ronnie Sharp's men in the Highland League table.
The visitors clipped the outside of the post four minutes in. Referee Graham Fraser awarded the Jags a free kick for an innocuous challenge on the edge of the box on the say-so of the standside linesman despite only being five yards away from play with a clear sight of the incident. From the resulting set piece, Adam Macleod's curling shot brushed the right-hand upright on its way past.
Then, a minute later, a Dominik Edwards run down the left saw the former Nairn midfielder feed Nic Stein but his cute flick at the near post was diverted inches past the far post by the boot of Dylan Maclean.
The returning Kenny McKenzie almost opened the scoring on 13 minutes but his shot was blocked by Strathspey goalkeeper David Aitchison at the front post with the ball spinning across goal and past the far post.
The visitors opened the scoring 12 minutes later with a corner from the right not being dealt with by Maclean under pressure from three Strathspey players, with Adam Macleod on hand to rifle home the loose ball from a couple of yards.
The goal scorer blasted over from 22 yards as he latched on to Macrae's clearance on the half-hour mark before Nic Stein raced in on goal from the right a minute later and saw his shot beaten around the near post by Maclean.
A late flurry in injury time almost saw Nairn draw level. Naismith's free kick was tipped wide by Aitchison in the Strathspey goal before Gary Kerr's header off the corner that followed came back off the bar. The ball was hacked behind for another set piece and this time Calum Riddell headed just over the top.
The visitors doubled their lead two minutes after the break but not before Nairn had a great chance to level 30 seconds into the second half. Kerr latched on to a Chris Moir flick but his blast was parried by Aitchison with Kenny McKenzie's follow up held by the Jags stopper.
Adam Macleod's low curling shot was kept out by Maclean but just a few seconds later, the Jags attacker lifted the ball into the box from the right for the unmarked Ryan Macleod to run on to and bullet a header across Maclean and into the net.
Callum Ednie came on for Nairn in his first appearance since the opening day of the season and his drive on 70 minutes was tipped over the top.
At the other end, Adam Macleod's low effort on 82 minutes drifted across goal and beyond the far post after the Jags had sprung a counter attack.
Nairn's day of misery was compounded with Gary Kerr red carded in the final minute for talking out of turn to referee Graham Fraser.
Nairn County - D. Maclean, S. Mackenzie (Barton 78), P. Macleod, Riddell, Naismith, Kerr (red 90), MacRae (D. Mackenzie 53), Moir (Ednie 53) (y 86), J. Maclean, Glenn Main, K. McKenzie. Subs unused: M. Macleod, Munro, Trialist, Wilkie (gk).
Strathspey Thistle - Aitchison, Hume, Cairns, McShane, A. Macleod (yellow 51), Fernandinho-Soto (y 57), R. Macleod (y 45) (Maley 78), Edwards (James MacKay 60), Jack Mackay (MacPhee 64) (y 81), Stein, Finnis. Subs unused: Fraser, J. Macleod, Lamont, MacCallum (gk).
Referee - Graham Fraser.
Pictures by Donald Matheson