Written by Nairn County FC September 14th 2016

SUB Dylan Mackenzie was the Nairn County hero as he netted a late winner to secure all three points at Fort William as the visitors battled back from a one-goal half time deficit. It was almost the perfect start for Nairn just two minutes in. Jordan Macrae found himself in front of goal unmarked with no defender near him. The Fort defence stopped waiting for an offside flag that never came but the County youngster smashed his six-yard shot past the right-hand post with just the goalkeeper to beat. But the visitors were stung by an opener at the other end three minutes later. A long ball through the middle of the Nairn defence was latched on to by Michael Ellis and he coolly flicked the ball across Dylan Maclean as the ball nestled inside the far post. A stunning save from Maclean prevented Fort from doubling their lead on the quarter-hour. Martin Munro raced past Stephen Mackenzie down the left and after a neat interchange with Scott Davidson, unleashed a powerful low shot from 15 yards that was kept out by a diving save from Nairn's number one. The hosts went even closer three minutes later. Callum Ednie mis-controlled a clearance off a Nairn corner allowing Iain Maclellan to race down the right in a two v one and his low delivery was turned goalwards by Davidson but somehow the back-tracking Naismith managed to divert the shot on to the crossbar. County almost drew level just before half time after a bizarre period of play. Jamie Mackay stopped because of the linesman's flag as he looked to race on to a ball down the right. The referee signalled for play to continue and Macrae was the only man who noticed as he raced out wide to retrieve the loose ball by the corner flag and advance into the box but his shot from a tight angle was turned around the near post. Then, just on half time, a Mackay cross in from the right was just an inch too far in front of the sliding Naismith for the wide man to turn home at the far post. Less than a minute after the turnaround, goal scorer Ellis saw his cross from the right evade Maclean and bounce off the crossbar. Kenny McKenzie's cross from the right found Naismith at the far post on 48 minutes. The midfielder controlled the ball but with defenders closing in, he screwed his 10-yard effort past the near post. McKenzie was on the end of Nairn's next chance on 52 minutes as a corner into the box was cleared to the midfielder but his rasping effort from just inside the box struck the left-hand upright. The County equaliser was coming and it duly arrived on 59 minutes. Naismith's in-swinging corner from the left was met by the towering head of Paul Macleod as the County centre half rose above the Fort William defence to nod home his first goal of the season. Fort hit the bar again on 65 minutes as Adam Porritt's out-swinging free kick was headed into the ground by Ellis with the ball being touched on to the crossbar by Maclean as it bounced up. The hosts almost went in front on 77 minutes as Martin Munro evaded Stephen Mackenzie's sliding tackle on the left and drove inside before reversing a low shot past the near post. But County won it a minute later. Stephen Mackenzie lifted a cross into the box from the right and Dylan Mackenzie met it with a powerful header as he hung in the air between two centre halves to send the ball into the bottom left-hand corner as Nairn fans went wild. Nairn County – D. Maclean, S. Mackenzie, Ednie, P. Macleod, Glenn Main, Riddell, Naismith, J. Maclean, Mackay, MacRae (D. Mackenzie 64), K. McKenzie. Subs unused: Moir, Trialist, Barton, M. Macleod, Munro, Wilkie (gk). Fort William – Trialist, Foggo, Taylor, Moffat, MacRae (Tawse 81), Porritt, Munro, Ellis, Maclellan (Mainland 34), Davidson, Lingard (Stark 75). Subs unused: MacIntyre, Broomfield, Chisholm, Trialist (gk). Referee – Graham Grainger. Graeme Macleod

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