IT was story of hard luck for Nairn County as Deveronvale took all three points at Station Park despite the hosts putting in another display full of endeavour and hard work, writes Graeme Macleod.
It was the worst possible start for Nairn for the second week in a row. An injury to Jamie Mackay led to a break in play and once the game resumed, a long diagonal from the halfway line on the left hand side floated through to Craig Cowie, although trialist Stephen Mackenzie appeared to be fouled as he attempted to win the ball in the air. That afforded Cowie the time to deliver a low cross and with Jack Maclean unfortunately slipping as he attempted to deal with the danger, Graeme Watt was able to nip in and slam home the opener.
County looked to threaten on 14 minutes as Gary Kerr chested the ball down to Wayne Mackintosh just outside the left side of the box but his first time snap shot flashed across goal and comfortably past the far post.
Two minutes later, Steven Fraser got his head to a 'Vale corner from the left but his effort dropped past the far post.
Good defending from Deveronvale right back Bradley Manson edged Jordan Macrae off the ball on 21 minutes as the young attacker timed his run perfectly as he attempted to meet a Mackintosh cross from the right.
County came more and more into the game as the half wore on though and levelled on 32 minutes. Ross Naismith delivered an in-swinging corner from the left and Gary Kerr timed his run to meet the ball with a thumping header at the near post that sent the ball crashing into the roof of the net.
Chris Blackhall came on for 'Vale at half time and almost made an instant impact. He got his head to an in-swinging Watt free kick from the right but he could only touch the ball narrowly beyond the far post.
A header at the other end nearly saw County go in front for the first time. Naismith's out-swinging corner from the right was met by Stephen Mackenzie's head but he sent his effort flashing past the near post.
Then, on 51 minutes, a Naismith corner from the left found its way through to Mackay at the far post but his powerful drive from 10 yards out was hacked clear by the man on the post.
Dylan Maclean then dropped on the ball to stop Kevin Souter's header from creeping in when the Deveronvale midfielder looked odds-on to put his side back in front.
The visitors threatened again on 63 minutes when Paul Sutherland spun in the penalty area and stabbed a shot across goal and inches beyond Maclean's right-hand post from 12 yards out.
Nairn pushed for the goal that would put them in front but it was Deveronvale who found a winner on 76 minutes. A corner from the left dropped to Steven Fraser in the penalty area and he smashed a low drive through a forest of legs and into the corner of the net from 10 yards.
Nairn County - D. Maclean, Trialist, Barron, Glenn Main, J. Maclean, Mackintosh, R. Naismith (Trialist 65), C. Maclean, Kerr, Mackay, MacRae (Mackenzie 73). Subs unused: Barton, M. Macleod, Munro, R. Macleod (gk).
Deveronvale - Blanchard, Manson, Forbes, Begg (yellow 83), Scott Fraser, Steven Fraser, Cowie (Krobot 67), Souter (Aitken 59), Sutherland, Harris (Blackhall 46) (y 61), Watt. Subs unused: Keith, Archibald, Patterson, Pennet (gk).
Referee - Graeme Fraser.
Pictures by Donald Matheson