RYAN Spink's late effort earned Keith all three points at Station Park as the visitors ended Nairn's second half rally to consolidate their one-goal half time lead, writes Graeme Macleod.
The visitors had led at the interval through Donald Fraser but when Conor Gethins levelled midway through the second half, it looked as if Nairn would have the impetus to go on and win it. But Spink drilled home the winner late on to take all three points.
Paul Macleod and Kenny McKenzie were back in the starting eleven with Adam Naismith and Sam Urquhart unavailable.
The visitors took the lead with just two minutes on the clock. Kris Duncan spun away from Michael Morrison just inside the Nairn half to go clean through on goal. His effort was blocked by the advancing Calum Antell but the ball broke kindly for Donald Fraser to turn into an empty net.
Duncan then fired a 25-yard free kick a yard over the crossbar five minutes later as Keith pressed for a second.
Conor Gethins bent a free kick around the wall from 20 yards out to the right of goal on 13 minutes but Keith goalkeeper Daniel Bell was equal to it as he dived to his left to make the save.
It was the visitors who continued to make all of the early running though and Duncan's inviting cross from the right on 16 minutes just needed a touch to turn it home but flashed beyond the far post to County's relief.
A minute later, a Bruce Milne header at the far post clipped the crossbar after the centre half connected with a corner from the right at the back post.
An Alan Pollock cross from the right 20 minutes in found the outstretched leg of Tony Wallace but he could only divert the ball straight at Bell under pressure from a defender.
Wallace went close again eight minutes later but his glancing header off a Gethins corner from the left flew past the far post.
Fraser nearly added his second on 29 minutes though as he got in behind Morrison down the left but his effort from a tight angle rattled the outside of the near post.
Paul Macleod's last ditch challenge prevented a certain goal as he slid in to deny Duncan in the six-yard box 10 minutes before the interval as Keith got in behind the Nairn defence again.
Alan Pollock's cross from the right on 38 minutes had just too much on it for Gethins to turn home. The striker had to adjust his body to get his head to the ball, resulting in a tame effort going straight into the welcoming arms of Bell.
A Fraser lay off was then met by a curling effort from Ralton at the edge of the box but his first time effort flashed just over the top.
Stewart Hutcheon's sliding tackle on Alan Pollock prevented the midfielder from levelling 10 minutes after the restart after he had been played in by Wallace.
Morrison drilled a thunderous free kick under the Keith wall on 63 minutes but the captain's effort was held by Bell as County continued their positive start to the second half.
The equaliser arrived four minutes later. A slack Sam Pugh backpass was latched on to by Conor Gethins,, who got there just ahead of Bell. The striker touched the ball around the goalkeeper and from an almost impossible angle on the by-line, the Irishman managed to squeeze the ball home.
Gethins almost put his side in front as he latched on to a Pollock ball over the top but with Bell bearing down on the striker, he had to head the ball as it dropped and it trickled just past the post.
Fraser worked enough space at the edge of the Nairn box to let fly with a low effort but the ball went just past the left hand post.
Pugh almost made up for his mistake at the other end on 82 minutes but his curling free kick from the edge of the box was tipped on to the post by a fine diving Antell save.
The visitors re-established their lead six minutes from the end. Left back Ryan Spink found himself in the box as Keith advanced forward and he was unmarked to step on to a cut back and sweep a low effort beyond the reach of Antell and into the far corner.
Nairn County - Antell, Webb, P. Macleod (yellow 47), Morrison, Pollock, Gethins (y 50), Skinner, C. Maclean, Duncanson (R. Naismith 85), McKenzie (Gregg Main 62), Wallace. Subs unused: Macrae, J. Maclean, D. Maclean (gk).
Keith - Bell, Hutcheon, Spink (yellow 63), Ralton, Milne, Pugh, Cormack (Ewan 69), Fraser, Barbour, Duncan (Johnston 90), Ritchie (yellow 42). Subs unused: Smith, Mitchell, Stewart, Massie, Johnston, Dey (gk).
Referee - Mark Stewart.
Pictures by Donald Matheson