AN eleven-goal blitz saw Nairn County earn their first win of pre-season as they eased to victory away at North Region Juniors Division 1 (West) outfit, New Elgin.
Ronnie Sharp rotated his squad around again with seven changes to the starting line-up and one of those players coming in almost broke the deadlock on five minutes. But Craig Munro’s header at the far post off short corner kick from the left bounced across goal and wide of the target.
Nairn opened the scoring just a minute later though. A quick throw-in on the left led to some good combination play between Cohen Ramsay and Tom Maclennan before Jordan MacRae was played through on goal and he tucked the ball under New Elgin goalkeeper, Stephen Dey.
Maclennan then blasted a shot well over the crossbar from 22 yards before MacRae had the chance to double his tally from the penalty spot on 15 minutes after Jack Maclean was fouled in the box by David Stephen. But Dey threw himself to his left to parry the striker’s effort from 12 yards.
But eight minutes later, Kenny McKenzie jinked in along the by-line on the left and pulled the ball back for Jack Maclean. Although his effort was blocked on the line, Jordan MacRae rammed home the loose ball for his second of the match.
Dey then denied MacRae his hat-trick by making a solid block at his near post after the County man had spun his marker out on the right and cracked a shot goalwards from a tight angle.
Jack Maclean then lifted the ball well over the crossbar after Ramsay had stepped over MacRae’s cross from the right before the same player was sent in on goal down the right from MacRae’s flick but saw his shot deflected past the near post.
Ewen Urquhart then shot wildly over from just inside the box after Maclennan and McKenzie’s short corner on the right had been cleared to the midfielder three minutes before the break.
But there was still time left on the watch for Nairn to double their advantage before the interval. Jack Maclean nicked the ball off a defender just inside the right side of the box before squaring for Jordan MacRae to tap home and complete his hat-trick.
Cohen Ramsay then got in on the act a minute before half-time after playing a nice one-two with Ryan MacDonald out on the left touch line, with the return pass sending the wide man bearing down on goal. And he showed a cool head to stroke a low shot across Dey and into the far corner.
The visitors picked up where they left off after the turnaround and three minutes into the half, substitute Adam Porritt stroke MacRae’s cut back from the right past the far post before Maclennan’s attempted lob from just outside the left-edge of the box on 52 minutes was gathered by Dey.
Max Ewan’s effort from a tight angle on the left was saved by Dey a minute later and then the hosts went down to 10 men with David McNamara sent off for a wild swipe at Dylan Mackenzie just outside the left-edge of the box.
The roof caved in for the hosts in the final half-an-hour or so with Nairn adding another seven goals to their tally, the first coming directly from the free kick which followed McNamara’s dismissal. Tom Maclennan stepped up to blast a low effort across goal and into the far corner of the net.
Just two minutes later, Dylan Mackenzie’s clipped cross in from the right was sent into the net by a side-footed volley from Max Ewan, as he made it two goals in two games by adding County’s sixth.
The visitors netted their seventh goal of the game on 66 minutes when Ramsay’s free kick into the box from the left found Dylan Mackenzie 10 yards out at the far post and although he did not make a true connection with the ball, it still trundled across goal and in at the right-hand post.
Danny Highet did well to hold off his man at the edge of the box on 68 minutes but his drive was clutched by Dey before the County forward was then played in by a Gregg Main pass a minute later only to see his shot blocked by the over-worked goalkeeper.
Then, when Maclennan collected the ball with his back to goal 10 yards out they were queuing up to receive the layoff. It went to Adam Porritt and he made no mistake as he drilled home number eight via a deflection on 73 minutes.
The ninth goal was all about the hard work of Highet, as he pressed into playing a poor pass to a defender, who was just inside his own box. The subsequent poor pass was anticipated by Gregg Main and he nicked the ball to go one-on-one with the ‘keeper before side-footing home his first goal as club captain.
Danny Highet made it double figures for Nairn with his first goal in a County shirt. Dylan Mackenzie drove at the heart of the New Elgin defence before playing the ball into the path of the former Fort William man and he smashed it beyond Dey at his near post from 15 yards out to the right of goal.
Adam Porritt rounded off a free-scoring afternoon for the men in yellow and black stripes as he placed the ball under the advancing goalkeeper on 85 minutes after being played through on goal by a Gregg Main pass.
New Elgin – Dey, Weir, Stephen, McNamara, McGregor, Ross, Paton, Stuart (Steele 59), Lees (Ezekiel 64), Bremner (Simpson 76), Arbuthnot. Subs unused: Christie (gk).
Nairn County – D. Maclean (Kendall 46), Naismith, K. McKenzie (Gregg Main 46), Munro (Callum Maclean 46), Glenn Main, Maclennan, MacDonald (Porritt 46), Urquhart (Ewan 46), J. Maclean (D. Mackenzie 46), MacRae (Highet 61), Ramsay. Subs unused: – .
Pictures by Donald Matheson