A YOUNG under-20s team recorded a creditable draw away at Alness United on Wednesday night with the visitors left disappointed not to have taken the victory despite fielding an inexperienced team.
With the first team playing at Strathspey Thistle, coach Ali Munro's selection was hampered with 12 of his 15-man squad not over the age of 18, including three 16 year olds on the bench.
Despite that, Nairn opened the scoring on 35 minutes when a ball into the Alness box from the right was headed clear by Alness to trialist, who took the ball down and beat a man before firing in a shot which deflected in off a defender.
Alness levelled things up 20 minutes into the second half but Nairn re-established their lead when they hit on the counter attack and Jack Maclean was fouled in the penalty box. Jordan Macrae stepped up to score his first goal for the club with the resultant penalty.
The hosts piled on the pressure and rescued a point with five minutes to go after a succession of corners finally paid off with the ball headed home at the far post.
Ali Munro said: "You have to put things into perspective - we had a very young team and our only overage player was one of our trialists."
"Their team was much-changed from when we last played them and they had the maximum number of overage players with a lot of their first team players involved, which is all the more reason for us to be delighted with a draw, especially after not playing for four weeks. Our shape was good - our defence was solid and our midfield worked hard."
"I would say we were the better team in the first half. We passed the ball well, created chances and worked their goalkeeper quite a few times while our goalkeeper only had one save to make in the first half."
"In the first 10 or 15 minutes of the second half, there was nothing between the teams but you could tell that our boys were starting to tire and in the last half an hour, Alness came at us."
"Football is not about individuals but I have to name our goalkeeper Ryan Macleod, who made three superb saves within the space of 10 minutes in the second half to keep us in the game."
"Sharpie (Ronnie Sharp, assistant) and I were both delighted with the performance of the boys considering we have not had a match for four weeks and we only had one overage player involved."
Nairn County - Ryan Macleod, Cameron Robertson, Calum Ednie, Craig Munro, Reece Barton, trialist, Chris MacKinnon, Jack Maclean, Jordan Macrae, Matthew Macleod, trialist. Subs: Christopher Green, Cameron Davidson, Struan Tweedie, Corey Marshall (gk).