Written by Nairn County FC November 29th 2020

The Reserves moved four points clear at the top of the North Caledonian League with a 4-1 success at Bonar Bridge as they brought some much-needed cheer to the club. The match took place at The Meadows, Dornoch with Bonar Bridge's home ground Migdale Park unplayable. Head coach Stuart Finnie said: "We are delighted with the win and it was good to bounce back after last week's match. "I do think the game was closer than the score line suggests. At 2-1, we were under a bit of pressure and we tried to make some changes to get ourselves back on the front foot, which thankfully paid off with us scoring two more goals. But it certainly was not a comfortable day's work and we had to grind it out." "I feel like I say this every week but I genuinely feel we can still play a lot better and that there is more to come from us. We are playing well in fits and starts but I am looking for that complete performance." "I cannot complain as the boys have worked hard and won five out of six games and are four points clear at the top. We are definitely punching above our weight but we will keep striving to get better performances and more wins." Next up for Finnie's side is Alness United, who they lead by eight points but the Ross-shire outfit hold three games in hand. Finnie added: "Next week is a massive game for us. It will really show where we are as I have said all along, I expect Alness to win this league, so we will need to be at our very best if we are to give ourselves any chance of getting something out of the game." Calum Howarth stepped into the team to play his first 90 minutes since joining from Forres Mechanics in the summer as he ramped up his return from a knee injury while there were also recalls for Scott Murray, Nathan Grant, Euan Logan, Robbie Mackenzie and Ryan Moodie, which meant the teams were: Nairn County Reserves – Gus Wilson, Scott Murray (John Grant 83), Calum Howarth, Scott Mutch, Nathan Grant (Duncan Robertson 84), Euan Logan, Robbie Mackenzie, Sam Gordon, Kieran Duffty (Louis Gordon 75), Ciaran Young (Logan Hallam 68), Ryan Moodie (Darren Mota 60). Subs unused: -. Bonar Bridge – Ryan Renwick, Fraser Macleod (Rhys Hossack 76), Gavin Maclean, Liam Flett, Jack Mitchell (Dylan McCulloch 74), Louis Webster, Miller Mackay (Adam Mackay 50), Fin Macleod, Archie Ryder, Stan Keith (Gregor Mackay 57 (yellow 90+2)), Andrew Gow. Sub unused: David Crosbie. A fantastic save from Gus Wilson prevented the hosts from taking the lead on six minutes. Louis Webster's in-swinging free kick from the left found Andrew Gow just a few yards out at the far post. His header seemed destined for the net until Wilson showed incredible reactions to throw up an arm and divert the ball over the crossbar. Kieran Duffty then rounded Bonar Bridge goalkeeper Ryan Renwick on seven minutes but he ran the ball out of play before he was able to get his shot off. But we went ahead on 14 minutes. Ryan Moodie swung in a free kick from out by the corner flag on the right which was controlled by Ciaran Young at the front post. His touch took him wide of goal and created a tight angle. But that never stopped the forward from squeezing home his ninth goal of the season and continuing his record of scoring in all league fixtures. A Bonar Bridge corner from the left by Webster a minute later dropped to Liam Flett 10 yards from goal. The defender managed to eke out a shot but Wilson was equal to it as he got down well to make a fine save. Young then played in Duffty on 22 minutes but his angled shot across goal from the right bounced past the far post. But two minutes later, Duffty got his goal. Some great anticipation from Euan Logan saw him latch on to Jack Mitchell's short header back to Renwick. The Nairn midfielder got to the ball before the goalkeeper but his low shot was parried. Duffty was on hand to pick up the rebound though as he drove home his eighth of the season via the inside of the left-hand post. Bonar Bridge halved the deficit 11 minutes later. Miller Mackay hooked in a cross from the by-line on the left which found Stan Keith just a couple of yards from goal. The attacker did not get his shot away first time as Wilson had anticipated, which meant he was able to scramble to ball past the committed 'keeper. Nathan Grant's effort from 25 yards out was held by Renwick at the second attempt on 48 minutes before Bonar Bridge's Mackay was substituted after going down in some distress two minutes later. We all wish the centre forward a speedy recovery. Webster's delivery from the right found Gregor Mackay at the far post on 63 minutes but his volley struck the outside of the upright on its way past in what was the closest Bonar came to levelling. That was because we went 3-1 in front just a minute later. Sam Gordon delivered an out-swinging free kick from the right. The ball dropped to Calum Howarth, who was able to stab it past Renwick. Jack Mitchell got to the ball first but he could only slice it into his own net in his attempt to clear the danger. A deep cross by Robbie Mackenzie from the right dropped to Young 10 yards out at the back post on 67 minutes but his low drive was blocked by the feet of Renwick. Two minutes later, captain Ciaran Young was replaced with Sam Gordon taking over the armband. And the striker's replacement, Logan Hallam almost made an instant impact as he ran through on goal but under pressure from a retreating defender, his shot from the angle on the left went across goal and wide. Good work down the Bonar Bridge left on 83 minutes led to Adam Mackay blasting wide of the near post as they looked to setup a grandstand finale. But County made sure the three points would be coming back down the road by adding a fourth with six minutes remaining. Mackenzie teased in another delivery from the right which was dropped by Renwick. And Hallam was quickest to react as he stuck out a leg to stab the bouncing ball past the grounded goalkeeper and into the net. It was nearly five late on with a neat flick from Hallam putting Mackenzie through on goal as he raced inside from the right flank. But Renwick atoned for his earlier mistake as he stood up to make a solid block at his near post.

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