WICK Academy took all three points from Nairn County’s first home Highland League match of the season on a disappointing night for the hosts.
Dylan Maclean was called into action 12 minutes in when Glenn Main’s pass back to the Nairn stopper was heavy and he could only clear the ball as far as Gordon MacNab at the edge of the box. But after working the ball on to his favoured left foot, he was denied by Maclean’s block.
The visitors opened the scoring 23 minutes in. After working the ball well down the left, Marc Macgregor delivered a low cross into the box with the ball taking a deflection at the near post to wrong-foot Dylan Maclean and send the ball into the net.
And Wick nearly doubled their lead just two minutes later. David Allan nicked the ball away from Fraser Dingwall inside the right side of the Nairn box before picking out Macgregor with a cut back. But Adam Naismith threw himself in the path of the centre forward’s net-bound shot to prevent a certain goal.
County took until the 29th minute to fashion their first sight of goal when the unmarked Tom Maclennan stepped on to Ewen Urquhart’s cut back from the right but the midfielder’s first-time low shot took a slight deflection and flashed inches past the far post.
That only delayed the equaliser by a minute though. Maclennan was involved as he played a one-two with Max Ewan just outside the left-edge of the penalty area but the attacker taking a touch after receiving the return before smashing a rising shot inside the near post from 15 yards.
The visitors had a great chance to go back in front just three minutes into the second half. David Allan’s low cut back from the right found Gordon MacNab unmarked on the edge of the box but he leaned back as he struck his first time shot, sending the ball well over the crossbar and out of the ground.
However, Wick found their way back in front from the penalty spot on 52 minutes. David Allan got across Cohen Ramsay in the penalty area as he went to meet a free kick into the box from the right before being shoved over by the Nairn midfielder. Referee Alan Proctor pointed to the penalty spot and Gary Manson stepped up to send the ball into the bottom right-hand corner, with Dylan Maclean getting a slight touch to it but unable to keep it out.
Academy would have stretched their lead two minutes later had it not been for a fine block from Dylan Maclean. MacNab played a neat reverse pass to put Macgregor in on goal but the Nairn goalkeeper stood tall to make a block and deny the Wick front man.
Maclean was called into action again on the hour-mark with MacNab unleashing a low shot from 15 yards which deflected off Glenn Main to send the ball towards the bottom corner. But the County goalkeeper threw himself to his left to tip the ball away.
But Wick’s third goal arrived on 64 minutes as Craig Gunn netted with his first touch after coming on as a substitute. It was a simple finish too as Sean McCarthy send a long clearance down the park for the former Elgin City striker to run on to at the edge of the box and he had the simple task of poking the ball under the advancing Maclean.
Both sides were reduced to 10 men after an off-the-ball clash between Michael Steven and Fraser Dingwall in the County penalty area 15 minutes from the end.
The visitors rounded off the scoring two minutes into injury time with Craig Gunn stepping up to a free kick 25 yards from goal to rifle the ball into the roof of the net.
Nairn County – D. Maclean, Naismith, K. McKenzie (Ednie 43), Dingwall (red 75), Glenn Main, Ramsay (Fernandino-Soto 61 (yellow 90)), MacDonald, Urquhart (y 58), D. Mackenzie, Maclennan, Ewan. Subs unused: J. Maclean, Highet, Munro, Kendall (gk).
Wick Academy – McCarthy, M. Steven (yellow 69, red 75), G. Steven, Farquhar, Manson, Henry, Halliday (Mackay 87), Macgregor (Henry 64), MacAdie, Allan (y 90), MacNab (Gunn 64). Subs unused: Clark (gk).
Referee – Alan Proctor.