UNDERSTRENGTH and leg-weary Nairn County saw their Highland League (Morganti) Cup campaign ended by Turriff United at Station Park as two ties in three days proved too much for Ronnie Sharp's side.
The home side played 120 minutes at Deveronvale on Wednesday night in the first round of the competition and squeezed through despite being reduced to nine men for the additional half-an-hour.
And that proved to have taken too much out of County with minimal recovery and preparation time for a game bereft of quality from both sides.
The visitors settled first and opened the scoring on seven minutes. Robbie Allan controlled a high ball out on the right and was positive from the off as he cut inside and on to his left foot before fizzing the ball inside Dylan Maclean's near post from 20 yards.
This put Turriff in the ascendancy and on 13 minutes, Cammy Booth stepped on to a low ball into the box from the left but could only divert his first time, side-footed effort from 15 yards comfortably over the crossbar.
Nairn should have levelled the tie on 16 minutes. Ross Naismith played a neat through pass for Gary Kerr to run on to from the right but the striker was denied by the imposing frame of Kevin Main, who advanced from his line to make a fine block.
At the other end, David Booth fastened on to a quick Turriff throw-in from the left on 28 minutes but he flashed his 22-yard, first time shot over the bar.
Turriff doubled their lead on 37 minutes. Allen Mackenzie had the time and space to control the ball 30 yards out on the right and he lifted his head before whipping in an out-swinging cross that David Ross stooped to meet with a header at the far post.
Booth almost added to his side's tally two minutes into the second half when he dispossessed Calum Riddell 30 yards out and stepped on to blast goalwards but Maclean was equal to it.
Barely a minute later, Allen Mackenzie cut inside from the right and bent the ball across goal and just beyond the far post.
But that just delayed the third goal by a minute. Callum Maclean attempted to intercept a ball across the face of the 18-yard box but he only succeeded in cushioning it down for David Booth and he ran in to slip the ball under advancing goalkeeper Maclean.
Maclean almost pulled one back at the other end but he was stretching to meet Ross Naismith's out-swinging free kick from the right with a header that flew just past the far post.
Goalkeeper Dylan Maclean was replaced on 57 minutes and looked in a bad way as he was escorted from the field of play clutching his neck.
County had the chance to give themselves some hope on 63 minutes when they were awarded a spot kick when goalkeeper Kevin Main went through the back of Jack Maclean in the penalty area. But the Turriff stopper made amends as he dived to his left to hold Gary Kerr's effort from 12 yards.
County threatened on 73 minutes with Jack Maclean playing Dylan Mackenzie in on the left but he blasted past the near post with Main untroubled.
Kerr had the ball nicked off his toe by Lewis Davidson at the far post as he looked to convert Jamie Mackay's low cross from the right on 80 minutes.
Almost immediately at the other end, substitute goalkeeper Ryan Macleod threw himself to his right to make a fine diving save and keep out Mackenzie's low drive.
County got themselves off the mark with a second penalty kick on 85 minutes. Dylan Mackenzie was tripped inside the box and although Glenn Main saw his effort from 12 yards blocked by his namesake in the Turriff goal, Nairn's stand-in skipper was on hand to ram home the rebound.
Nairn County - D. Maclean (R. Macleod 57), J. Maclean, C. Maclean, P. Macleod, Glenn Main, Riddell (yellow 71), Naismith (Mackay 54), K. McKenzie, Kerr (y 67), D. Mackenzie, Morganti (S. Mackenzie 54). Subs unused: Ednie, Fraser.
Turriff United - Main, Herd (Wozniak 68), Chalmers, Booth (yellow 17) (Nowosielski 74), Bowden, Young, Mackenzie, Allan (Davidson 49), Ross, Booth, Davidson. Subs unused: Vastano, Strachan, Bruce, Sherman.
Referee - Dan MacFarlane.
Pictures by Donald Matheson.