A CONTRASTING game at Station Park saw Nairn County U20s almost throw away a five-goal lead as they held on to beat Clachnacuddin by the odd goal in nine to take all three points.
The hosts made a dream start by opening the scoring in the first minute. Seamus McConaghy picked out Alex Geddes with his back to goal and he laid the ball off superbly for Sean McWilliams to run on to from the left before bending a curling effort across Adam Carter in the Clach goal.
It almost got better for Nairn on five minutes but Cameron Maclean’s stooping header at the near post off a McWilliams corner from the left was touched wide by the diving Carter.
But there was nothing the Clach goalkeeper to prevent Nairn from doubling their lead from the next corner. Euan Wheeler rose highest to meet McConnaghy’s in-swinging delivery from the right to crash the ball into the roof of the net with a thumping header.
It got even better for the home side with Cameron Maclean stepping up to a free kick 22 yards out to the right of goal before bending the ball across goal and in at the left-hand post to give County a three-goal advantage just 13 minutes in.
Nairn continued to dominate and added a fourth goal on 28 minutes. Seamus McConaghy held his man off to let a throw-in from the left run across his body before thumping a shot across goal and into the top right-hand corner of the net.
Then, the fifth goal arrived just four minutes later. McConaghy delivered an in-swinging corner kick from the left and Ian Payne met it with a glancing header at the near post as the ball flashed behind Carter.
Clach pulled a goal back six minutes before the break with Ross Logan weaving in along the by-line from the right before picking out Connor Bruce with a cut back. The striker then applied a deft touch at the near post to send the ball across Fraser Wilkie and it at the far post.
The visitors reduced the arrears to three just six minutes into the second half. Thomas MacInnes delivered an inviting low cross from the left and Daniel McKay timed his run to meet it with a first-time finish.
Clach continued their fight back with a penalty kick on 68 minutes. Euan Wheeler tripped Connor Bruce from behind in the 18-yard box and James Dingwall stepped up to send Wilkie the wrong way from the spot.
The visitors were back to within one with just six minutes remaining as Thomas MacInnes ran on to a cross field pass from the right to advance in from the left and stroke the ball beyond Wilkie.
Nairn County – Wilkie, Cuthbert, J. W. Maclean (yellow 52) (Mitchell 53), Barron, Wheeler, Cameron Maclean (y 73), Payne (MacBean 69 (y 88)), McDermott, Geddes (Young 63), McConaghy (Campbell 69), McWilliams (Eadie 55). Subs unused: -.
Clachnacuddin – Carter, McKay (Smith 83), Bruce (Thompson 86), Sutherland, Patience (yellow 46), McBride (McCheyne 79), Fraser (y 31) (Wardrope 56 (y 75)), McInnes, Bruce, Gillies (Dingwall 60), Logan. Subs unused: -.
Referee – Gordon Seago.