ROBBIE Duncanson's second half brace was enough for Nairn County to see off plucky Strathspey Thistle at Station Park, writes Graeme Macleod.
The hosts started positively with John Cameron heading just over the crossbar off a delivery from the left on six minutes and barely a minute later, Alan Pollock went even closer. The midfielder cut in from the left, drifted past two defenders and smacked the bar with a thunderous drive.
But Strathspey shocked the hosts with the opener on 16 minutes. A simple forward pass split the Nairn defence, allowing Kenneth Mair to brush off Adam Naismith and lift the ball over the advancing Antell.
A fine save by Daniel Hoban in the Strathspey goal kept the visitors in front three minutes later. A great County move saw Gregg Main feed Sam Urquhart down the left. His low delivery was met by the on-running Pollock who managed to divert it goalwards from point blank range but was denied by a fantastic reaction stop.
Down the other end, it was Antell's turn to excel as he threw himself to his left to keep out Michael McKenzie's low effort, which was otherwise bound for the bottom left corner of the net.
Hesitation from Pollock prevented him from getting his shot away on 31 minutes after he had been picked out by Gregg Main's low cross from the right. The midfielder instead teed up Robbie Duncanson but his low shot was deflected behind.
Then, three minutes later, Duncanson was denied by Hoban as the Strathspey stopper kept out the County captain's low effort.
The hosts were level four minutes before the interval. Urquhart's knock down in the centre circle was pinged out to the left first time by Duncanson. Alan Pollock ran on to the ball before skinning the right back and blasting an angled drive into the roof of the net from eight yards.
Less than a minute later, John Cameron's close range effort was kept out by Hoban as the two teams went in level at the break.
Good work by Gregg Main two minutes after the break saw him charge down a clearance to Urquhart but his low shot stung the palms of Hoban.
The woodwork kept Strathspey level on 51 minutes. Pollock mugged Jordan Wardrope of possession and fed Urquhart. The striker's scooped return was met by an acrobatic effort from Pollock and he was unfortunate to be denied by the post.
Nairn went in front for the first time in the game midway through the second half. A perfectly-weighted Urquhart pass sent Cameron racing in on Hoban's goal and the County wide man just managed to get a nick on the ball before being clattered by the Jags' stopper. Referee Ben Dempster awarded a penalty and Robbie Duncanson showed a cool head to clip home from 12 yards.
A raking forward pass by substitute Wayne Mackintosh on 80 minutes found Pollock out on the left. He rolled the ball into the path of Duncanson but the attacker's first time drive flashed over the crossbar.
County made sure of the three points in the third minute of injury time with the last action of the game. Another superb long pass by Mackintosh from the left touchline on the halfway line was perfect for Robbie Duncanson to run on to and blast in his second of the game with a crisp, first time effort from just inside the right corner of the box.
Nairn County - Antell, Webb, Pollock, Gregg Main (yellow 88), Urquhart, Skinner (McKenzie 49), A. Naismith, C. Maclean (Mackintosh 71), Duncanson, Glenn Main, Cameron. Subs: P. Macleod, Morrison, R. Naismith, Halsman, D. Maclean (gk).
Strathspey Thistle - Hoban (yellow 66), Wardrope, Cairns, McShane, Mair, Groat (Fraser 77), MacPhee, A. MacKay (Patience 67), Munro (J. Mackay 56) (y 77), McKenzie, Lamont. Subs unused: Fraser, Hudson, Hewitt, J. MacLeod, MacLennan.