Three goals in thirty first half minutes left Nairn with too much to do against a powerful Formartine United side, who continued their strong start to the season.
Despite a better showing in the second half, it did mean a third League defeat of the campaign for the County as our difficult start to the season continues. Nairn named an unchanged starting XI from the previous weekend’s narrow defeat to title challengers Fraserburgh.
Despite morning press reports to the contrary, the recently returned Adam Porritt was not in the pool as he plays catchup with his new season fitness. Will Counsell continued between the sticks for the sixth consecutive game and John Treasurer made the bench on his return from injury. Therefore, the team for Nairn was:
Nairn County – Will Counsell, Ben Williamson, Kenny McKenzie, Cohen Ramsay, Ryan Fyffe, Glenn Main, Max Ewan, Callum Maclean, Conor Gethins, Scott Davidson, Seamus McConaghy (John Treasurer 30). Subs unused: Liam Shewan, Angus Dey, Rory Williamson, Callum Ednie, Dylan MacKenzie.
Nairn started brightly, with both Ben Williamson and Seamus McConaghy getting behind the Formartine backline and putting over crosses which goalkeeper Balint Demus dealt with confidently.
However, it was the home side who had the first big chance of the game when on six minutes, a cross dropped just beyond Ryan Fyffe and was pounced upon by the unmarked Jordan Lynch, six yards out. As he shaped to finish, Seamus McConaghy appeared from out of nowhere to make a tremendous saving tackle and clear the danger.
Nairn threatened on 10 minutes, with Callum Maclean’s header from a McConaghy corner flashing just wide of the upright.
Given that Nairn had settled early, it came as a bit of shock when Formartine scored on 17 minutes with Jordan Lynch’s strong drive evading Counsell.
Then, before we had time to digest that, Formartine went straight back up the field and scored a second, with Scott Lisle scoring in similar fashion to the first.
A visibly shaken Nairn team was denied a way back into the game on 20 minutes when Scott Davidson was hauled down by Liam Strachan, who received a yellow card.
It was the home side, however, who maintained the pressure with waves of attack forcing Nairn deeper and deeper. Cohen Ramsay did very well to scoop a goal-bound Lynch header off the line.
The pressure told on 29 minutes when Scott LIsle notched his second of the game and United’s third with a deft finish, leaving a Nairn side facing the abyss with over an hour to go.
Manager Ronnie Sharp reacted immediately with a tactical reset, which saw Treasurer coming on to replace McConaghy.
On 36 minutes, a good run and cross from Kenny McKenzie was inches away from the head of the onrushing Scott Davidson but it was a rare moment of optimism for Nairn as Formartine continued to dominate.
It was pleasing then that, despite Cohen Ramsay being booked on 43 minutes for a late tackle, the County made it to the break without further damage.
Ronnie Sharp’s pep talked appeared to work as again Nairn started the half brightly. Callum Maclean picked the lock with a through ball to Scott Davidson and his low shot brought an excellent save from Demus.
The ball was partially cleared, falling to Max Ewan, whose deflected drive was again saved well by the Hungarian goalkeeper.
Nairn, however, were beginning to get a feel for the game, Gethins putting in Davidson who was denied at the last by Demus on 61 minutes.
Just a minute later though, the County finally broke through. Ryan Fyffe advanced into the midfield and slid a pass into Max Ewan, whose driven finish beat Demus for the Nairn’s striker’s second goal (or is it third?) in as many games.
Any prospect of a comeback was promptly stamped all over by an immediate response from the home side who, on 66 minutes, advanced up the park to restore their three-goal lead.
An almighty scramble in the Nairn goalmouth was eventually smacked home by Jonathan Smith to put the game out of sight for County.
On 76 minutes, Liam Strachan rued that earlier booking when he was sent off by referee Liam Duncan for a second bookable offence.
However, the home side shut up shop and saw the remainder of the game out without much threat to their advantage.