Written by Nairn County FC September 3rd 2016

A MICHAEL Finnis penalty kick was all that separated the sides at Grant Street Park as Clachnacuddin edged out Nairn County in a scrappy derby encounter. A quiet opening period was followed by Michael Finnis heading just over the crossbar after Stuart Leslie had rampaged down the right for the hosts. Finnis was on the spot to give Clach the lead on 21 minutes though. Jordan Macrae was judged to have tripped Martin Callum inside the penalty box after the Clach midfielder's free kick into the danger area had been cleared. Michael Finnis stepped up to blast the ball into the roof of the net from the penalty spot. Nairn almost responded in the perfect fashion but Naismith's inviting cross was flicked away by the head of David McGurk with Gary Kerr lurking. The next sight of goal went the way of the visitors on 25 minutes with Wayne Mackintosh's free kick from deep being flicked on by Kerr and it just needed a touch from the head of the in-rushing Macrae but the ball was just too far in front of the young attacker. Mackintosh then fired a tame shot at John Campbell in the Clach goal after being teed up by Kerr on 33 minutes. Clach were inches away from doubling their advantage on 40 minutes when Blair Lawrie's in-swinging cross from the left was headed across goal and just wide by Ian Penwright at the far post. County were first to threaten after the restart with Naismith curling a low shot goalwards from the right edge of the box but despite it taking an awkward bounce in front of the goalkeeper, Campbell gathered up well. At the other end, Dylan Maclean excelled himself to beat Penwright's close range drive from an angle on the right around the post. Kerr threatened to level for Nairn on 50 minutes but he could only stab Naismith's low corner from the left past the far post. The hosts had a great chance to double their lead when they were awarded a second penalty on 59 minutes. Chris Moir was dispossessed by Martin Callum and his low ball across goal was inviting for Lawrie. He was tripped from behind by Glenn Main with referee Graham Fraser pointing to the spot again. Stuart Leslie stepped up this time but ballooned the penalty over the bar. Clach put another gilt-edged chance over the crossbar on 66 minutes with Martin Callum firing high off a Blair Lawrie cutback. County almost scrambled a leveller at the other end a minute later but substitute Jamie Mackay's low cross from the right was only just dealt with as Campbell looked to gather the ball under pressure from Kerr. Nairn had a couple of let offs with 15 minutes left as Martin Callum's in-swinging free kick was touched on to the crossbar and over by Maclean with Lawrie's corner kick that followed being hacked clear from the goal line by Mackay just inside the far post. County pushed on in search of a leveller but the Clach defence stood firm to earn all three points. Clachnacuddin – Campbell, Mackintosh, Finnis (yellow 32), Scott-Woodhouse, McGurk, Robertson (y 79), Lawrie (Shewan 76), Callum (Kennedy 80), Penwright (Grant 89), Leslie, R. Macdonald. Subs unused: Maclean, Beetson, Burke, A. Macdonald (gk). Nairn County – D. Maclean, J. Maclean (D. Mackenzie 36), Glenn Main (yellow 58), P. Macleod, Riddell, Mackintosh (y 38) (K. McKenzie 55), Naismith (y 29) (Mackay 64), S. Mackenzie, Kerr (y 32), Moir, Macrae. Subs unused: M. Macleod, Ednie, Munro, R. Macleod (gk). Referee – Graham Fraser. Graeme Macleod

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