Written by Nairn County FC January 23rd 2022

Ciaran Young struck in the final minute as we won away at Forres Mechanics for the first time in seven years.

The hosts had led twice through efforts from Lee Fraser and Paul Brindle which had been cancelled out by Fraser Dingwall and Glenn Main strikes.

But just when it looked as if our dominance would only yield a single point, Young planted the ball past impressive Forres goalkeeper, Lee Herbert to bring full points back along the A96.

Dingwall was back in the team for the first time since July where he was joined by Gussie Dey with Adam Porritt and Dylan Mackenzie dropping down to the bench.

Nairn County – Dylan Maclean, John Treasurer, Kenny McKenzie, Cohen Ramsay, Fraser Dingwall, Angus Dey (Adam Porritt 60), Sam Gordon (Rory Williamson 76), Callum Maclean, Conor Gethins, Glenn Main (Ciaran Young 64), Andrew Greig.

Subs unused: Callum Ednie, Dylan Mackenzie, Will Counsell (gk).

The hosts started sharply with Lee Fraser’s aerial prowess allowing his flick-on to send Callum Johnston in down the left.

He worked the ball back to Fraser, who got a break of the ball to evade the covering Dingwall and Treasurer before scooping his shot from just outside the box to the left of the diving Dylan Maclean to put Forres in front.

We struck back almost immediately though.

The returning Fraser Dingwall rose above the home defence to meet an Andrew Greig corner from the left and power a header into the top corner at the near post to mark his first game in six months with a goal on just eight minutes.

That gave us the lift we needed as we forced a series of corners in our pursuit of the lead for the first time.

It was an eventful opening to Dingwall’s return as the centre-half appeared to dislocate his thumb.

Despite the painful-looking injury, the defender soldiered on and completed the 90 minutes.

Dylan Maclean had to look sharp to keep out Paul Brindle after the forward met Lee Fraser’s flick on.

The former Brora forward rifled a crisp drive goalwards but it was clutched by Maclean at his near post.

Gussie Dey saw his effort on 24 minutes deflected wide for a corner before the midfielder sharply turned away from his marker inside the box 11 minutes later but his low drive was clutched by Lee Herbert in the Forres goal.

Herbert again came out on top for Forres to keep the hosts level on 39 minutes when Greig jinked inside from the left and looked to pick out the far corner only to be kept out by the Mechanics shot stopper.

We ended the half on top and the ball broke kindly for Callum Maclean at the edge of the box but his effort flew over the crossbar.

We came out for the second half looking to kick on and started the second peiod brightly. But the hosts matched their feat of the first half by going ahead early on.

The dangerous Johnston’s pace took him away from Treasurer down the left and his powerful low cross was parried back into the goalmouth by Maclean.

Brindle fastened on to the loose ball and drilled it past the covering defenders to put the home side back in front on 51 minutes.

But we again struck back sharply as we levelled it up six minutes later.

Conor Gethins’ flighted a diagonal ball forward that found the head of Glenn Main at the edge of the box.

The club record appearance holder showed great speed-of-thought to loop a header over the stranded Herbert.

The ball seemed to take an age to drop but Main had measured his effort to perfection as it dropped under the crossbar to make it 2-2.

We were on the front foot from then on and on 63 minutes, Main had another effort as he met Greig’s cross from the left with a header that flew over with Gethins arriving just behind in what was probably the better position to apply the finish.

Greig was denied a first goal in Nairn colours by a fantastic save from Herbert on 66 minutes.

The winger was unmarked at the far post to meet a Young cross from the right and looked like he just had to apply the finish.

But Herbert threw himself across his goal to make the block which kept his side level. Greig continued to persist and three minutes later, he skipped past his marker and saw his drive deflected past for a corner.

Herbert excelled again on 75 minutes keep the Mechanics level once more.

This time, it was Young who was denied, as the striker fended off two defenders to take in a bouncing ball before unleashing a close-range volley that the Forres number one showed great reactions to touch over the bar.

But just when it looked like Forres might hang on for a point in this absorbing contest, we won it in the final minute as we went in front for the first time in the game at the most crucial moment.

It all started when a Forres breakaway resulted in Gethins filling in at left-back to cover for the advancing Kenny McKenzie.

The striker’s efforts thwarted the Mechanics attack and put us back on the front foot, with Greig and Adam Porritt working the ball across to Young.

He then shrugged off his marker before drilling a powerful low effort beyond the rooted Herbert to win it.

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