Written by Nairn County FC December 5th 2020

Nairn County Reserves suffered only their second league defeat of the season and it could be a costly one as they were well beaten away at title favourites, Alness United. The Nairn youngsters still sit at the top of Division 2 of the North Caledonian League but Alness move to within five points having played three games less. Second-placed Inverness Athletic are now just a point behind and they face the County second string this weekend. Reflecting on Saturday's heavy defeat, Reserves Head Coach Stuart Finnie said: "It was disappointing and we were given a real lesson. "Alness were far better than us all over the park and the experience of their players was vital to how the game went. We can learn a lot from playing against that type of quality. "I thought we started the game well enough and competed well but once Alness went in front, they never looked back. It goes to show how important it is to get the first goal in these sorts of games – if we had gone in front ourselves we may have been able to kick on from there. "As it was, it was Alness who went ahead and they scored again before half time and then went three in front 10 minutes into the second half. From there, it would have been a huge task for us to get back into the game and so it proved. "It was disappointing to concede a further three goals from there but we were pushing numbers forward to try to pull it back to 3-1 which might have given us a chance had we managed to do so and done it early enough. "As it transpired, it just left us more open at the back and Alness took full advantage of that. We cannot have any complaints at all and we now need to regroup before another tough game this weekend." The Nairn youngsters managed to compete well enough up until they fell behind with both sides having their chances to break the deadlock in the opening 25 minutes. The closest County came to going in front was when Ryan Moodie delivered a fine low cross from the left which was just an inch or so in front of Kieran Duffty, with the striker not able to apply the slight touch needed to divert the ball into the net. Alness went in front on 26 minutes and never looked back. The hosts took a quick throw-in by the corner flag which left Robbie Mackenzie in a 2v1 situation. That allowed Liam Hutchinson to deliver a low cross which was deflected on to the front post by Nairn defender, Scott Murray. But Callum Gow reacted quickest as he turned home the loose ball. A swift break allowed Alness to double their lead eight minutes later. Nairn lost the ball in the middle of the park and the hosts worked it forward to Ryan McFee and he swept home from 10 yards out. McFee doubled his tally with the crucial third goal, 10 minutes into the second half with another close range finish to leave Nairn with an uphill struggle. If it was a difficult task to take something from the game from there it was approaching impossible when Gordon Finlayson cracked home Alness's fourth of the afternoon on 65 minutes. McFee then rounded off a good afternoon's work by completing his hat-trick on 74 minutes as the hosts went five goals in front. Nairn grabbed a consolation on 86 minutes when Jack Maclean was fouled in the penalty area and Ciaran Young netted from the spot to take him into double figures for goals for the season. But the scoring was not finished there as Nairn were caught out at the back again and substitute Euan Henderson restored Alness's five-goal lead in the final minute. Nairn County Reserves – Gus Wilson, Scott Murray (Duncan Robertson 70), John Grant, Jack Maclean, Nathan Grant (Liam Balfour 80), Euan Logan (Louis Gordon 65), Robbie Mackenzie (Darren Mota 60), Sam Gordon, Kieran Duffty, Ciaran Young, Ryan Moodie (Logan Hallam 55). Subs unused: -.

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