NAIRN County rounded off pre-season with a comfortable win at North Region Super League side Stonehaven with the home side unable to live with the pace on the counter attack of Ronnie Sharp’s men during an impressive first half showing by the visitors.
Debutant Fraser Dingwall went close to opening the scoring three minutes in but his header crashed off the crossbar after a well-worked Nairn corner on the right.
Dingwall was involved again four minutes later, this time supplying the delivery from the right for Ewen Urquhart to glance across goal and just wide with a header at the near post.
Gregg Main then picked out Dingwall on 14 minutes with an out-swinging free kick from the right but the full back’s header flew just off target.
The opener came just a few seconds later though. Gregg Main’s through pass released Dylan Mackenzie down the right and in behind the Stonehaven full back. He played the ball across goal for Max Ewan to run on to and apply the finish at the far post.
Gregg Main then worked a short corner kick with Kenny McKenzie on the left but the midfielder was off balance as he released his shot, blasting the ball well over the crossbar as a result.
But the captain was involved as Nairn made it two on 20 minutes. His through pass sent Urquhart racing forward down the left and he picked out Adam Porritt in the middle. The former Fort William man then placed the ball beyond Stonehaven goalkeeper, Blair McIntosh.
It was 3-0 just five minutes later. McKenzie whipped in an out-swinging free kick from the left that struck Dingwall in the face sending the ball goalwards and beyond McIntosh, with Max Ewan nipping in to tap home from less than a yard.
Adam Porritt then grabbed his second of the game on 32 minutes. Kenny McKenzie advanced down the left as Nairn broke again. He picked out Gregg Main with a low delivery and with the midfielder held up by a defender, he laid the ball off for Porritt to stroke home from 18 yards.
Max Ewan then spun a Stonehaven defender on the halfway line and then sprinted down the left and cut the ball back to Urquhart. But his finish was well off target as he sent the ball sailing over the crossbar from 12 yards out.
Callum Maclean then managed to connect with Porritt’s out-swinging free kick from deep on the right but the defender touched the ball past the far post.
McIntosh made an excellent save seven minutes into the second half as he tipped a Glenn Main piledriver over the bar after had strode out of defence with the ball and linked up well with Ewan at the edge of the box.
Dingwall was a threat in the air all day and he ran on to Gregg Main’s cross from the right on 56 minutes before heading the ball just wide of the back post.
Twelve minutes later, Ewan flashed a header off target after meeting Tom Maclennan’s corner kick from the left before Maclennan himself went close to stretching County’s lead but his shot from 22 yards was held by McIntosh on 70 minutes.
Dingwall saw a header hacked off the line by the man on the near post two minutes later after he met Maclennan’s corner kick from the left and then Maclennan curling shot from 15 yards went just over the bar on 75 minutes.
County rounded off the scoring on 82 minutes though. Danny Highet managed to get his body between a defender a bouncing ball in the penalty area before being bundled to the deck. Adam Naismith then stepped up to coolly despatch the ball into the net from the spot.
It was almost six for the visitors in the final minute but Highet’s shot from 10 yards was tipped on to the crossbar by McIntosh after he had been picked out in the penalty area by Jack Maclean after he had forayed down the right wing.
Stonehaven – McIntosh, Thomson, Metelski (Lowden 46), Gray, Robertson (Low 62), Morrison, Lloyd (Begg 46), Johnston, Mackie (Cormack 55), Morris, Anderson (Morris 66). Subs unused: Kidd.
Nairn County – D. Maclean (Kendall 46), Dingwall, K. McKenzie (Ednie 46), Callum Maclean, Glenn Main, Porritt (Maclennan 46), Naismith, Urquhart (Highet 62), D. Mackenzie (J. Maclean 62), Gregg Main (yellow 50) (Munro 66), Ewan (Fernandino-Soto 70). Subs unused: -
Referee – Graeme Jack.
Pictures by Donald Matheson