FORRES Mechanics clung on with 10 men at Station Park to take all three points in an entertaining derby clash as the home side battled back from two goals down to almost earn a point.
It was Nairn's slow start again which cost them though as they went two goals down in the opening quarter leaving themselves an uphill struggle to take something from the match but they almost pulled it off.
Forres took just two minutes to open the scoring as Nairn conceded in the first 10 minutes of a home game for the third match in a row. Robbie Duncanson swung across an out-swinging corner from the right and Lee Fraser stepped back on to the six-yard line to redirect a header beyond Dylan Maclean despite going away from goal.
County's poor start continued with Forres doubling their advantage on 16 minutes. Trialist was caught in possession wide on the left for Nairn with the ball fed into Andrew McRae with the young striker running on to drill a clinical finish past Maclean.
The home side almost pulled a goal back on 29 minutes but Jordan MacRae's flashing header off Ross Naismith's out-swinging free kick from the right flew just past the far post with Stuart Knight in the Forres goal beaten.
Then, four minutes later, Ross Naismith did well to read a square pass in the Forres defence 40 yards from goal but his touch took him wide and from a tight angle on the right, he could only fire his low shot across goal and wide of the target.
Nairn then went even closer on 35 minutes. Jack Maclean was found by Ross Naismith's pass racing into the box from the right and he pulled the ball back to Mackenzie but the young striker's first time shot smacked the inside of the right-hand post before coming back of rooted goalkeeper Knight before flashing back across goal and wide.
But a County goal was coming and it arrived a minute later. Mackenzie was the provider as he had his back to goal and rolled the ball into the path of the on-running Cohen Ramsay, with the young midfielder showing great composure to advance in and stroke the ball under Knight from 10 yards.
Two minutes into the second half, Jordan MacRae clipped the ball from wide on the left to the right corner of the box where Ross Naismith collected it and cut inside but his goal-bound shot was kept out by a superb sliding block from a Forres defender.
The game was finely poised at this stage but Forres restored their two-goal lead on 53 minutes. Nairn switched off at a short corner on the right with the ball clipped into the penalty are for Lee Fraser to nod down with Stuart Soane doing the rest as he turned the ball beyond Maclean from close range.
The visitors went down to 10 men on 56 minutes with Alan Pollock dismissed after being booked for a foul on MacRae and then speaking out of turn to the referee immediately afterwards. And Nairn took advantage to pull a goal back eight minutes later. A Ross Naismith corner from the right was not dealt with by the Forres defence, with the ball dropping to Jordan MacRae to blast a rising shot past Knight.
Nairn's tails were up but it was Forres who almost found the net next on 72 minutes with Stuart Soane smashing the face of the crossbar with a 25-yard thunderbolt before Lee Fraser's follow up was blocked by the sliding Porritt.
The home side came within an inch of grabbing a point three minutes from the end. Ross Naismith's out-swinging cross from deep on the right deceived Knight but came back off the inside of the far post. When MacRae clipped the ball back the box from the left, Ramsay met it with a header that Knight dived full length to his right to tip away.
Then, a minute later, Jack Maclean ran on to a deep MacRae cross from the left but he was stretching to make a connection and could only send the ball sailing well over the crossbar.
But Forres made sure of the points four minutes into stoppage time. Craig McGovern's thunderous low free kick from the edge of the box was too hot for Dylan Maclean to hand and Andy McRae reacted quickest to bundle in the rebound.
Nairn County - D. Maclean (yellow 90+3), J. Maclean, Ednie (Ewan 60), A. Naismith, Glenn Main, Porritt (y 6), R. Naismith, Trialist, D. Mackenzie (Kerr 66), MacRae, Ramsay. Subs unused: L. MacDonald, Cuthbert, Cameron Maclean, M. Macleod, Wilkie (gk).
Forres Mechanics - Knight, Milne (yellow 4), L. Fraser, Pollock (y56, 56), McGovern, McRae, McPhee (y69) (Groat 70), Duncanson (G. Fraser 63), Howarth, R. Fraser (Grant 85), Soane. Subs unused: McGillivray, Brown (gk).
Referee - Alan Proctor.
Pictures by Donald Matheson