NAIRN County made heavy weather of it as Max Ewan’s first half strike proved to be the only goal of the game at Station Park.
Nairn had the early pressure but it was Fort William who were inches away from opening the scoring on 15 minutes. John Treasurer had the time to get the ball under control and lift his head some 20 yards from goal and his curling effort flew just past the postage stamp.
Nairn responded three minutes later through Ewen Urquhart’s cut back from the right to Jack Maclean but the midfielder’s first time effort from just inside the box struck the crossbar.
The hosts then called Fort goalkeeper Martin Mackinnon into action on 23 minutes with Dylan Mackenzie pulling down a high ball wide on the left and cutting on to his right foot but his 18-yard grounder was easily held by the visitors’ number one at his near post.
County broke down the Fort resistance on 38 minutes. Tom Maclennan sent an in-swinging cross over from the left to Dylan Mackenzie at the far post. The striker headed the ball back across goal and Max Ewan was on hand to bundle it in from a few yards.
Ewen Urquhart almost grabbed his first Nairn County goal when he stepped on to Ewan’s lay off just inside the box but his low shot drifted narrowly past the right-hand post.
Cohen Ramsay ran on to Callum Maclean’s clipped pass forward on 51 minutes but his shot from 18 yards flew just past the near post.
Fort broke forward on 53 minutes with Treasurer feeding Aidan Taylor but his attempted loft over Hoban dropped just over the crossbar.
Then, three minutes later, the ball dropped invitingly to the unmarked Barna Tot 15 yards out at the far post off a cross from the left but his first time effort fizzed just wide of the target.
Dylan Mackenzie managed to beat Mackinnon to a hanging Cohen Ramsay cross from the left on 62 minutes but he knocked the ball past the near post.
Fort almost found an equaliser on 72 minutes but Farquhar MacRae could only send a cross from the left sailing off target at the far post.
Three minutes later, Ramsay cut the ball back from the left to Dylan Mackenzie but his first time side-footer crashed into the side netting.
Nairn County – Hoban, Porritt, K. McKenzie, Callum Maclean, Glenn Main, Ramsay, Ewan, Maclennan, D. Mackenzie, J. Maclean, Urquhart (MacDonald 46). Subs unused: Highet, Ednie, Cuthbert, Cameron Maclean, Naismith, D. Maclean (gk).
Fort William – 1 Mackinnon, 2 Foggo (Rydings 86), 3 Campbell, 4 Tawse, 5 MacRae, 6 Lingard, 7 Henderson (McKillop 83), 8 Tot (Cameron 79), 9 Treasurer, 10 Maclellan, 11 Taylor. Subs unused: -.
Referee – Ben Dempster.
Pictures by Donald Matheson