Written by Nairn County FC October 2nd 2021

This is not one which will live long in the memory with neither team really doing enough to win it. Both goalkeepers barely broke a sweat but it was the Locos who notched the opener.

Just the one goal separated the sides with Neil Gauld nipping in to do what he has done in the Highland League over the last decade or so.

But Ronnie Sharp will take heart from the effort and commitment from his team, who played the final quarter of the match with 10 men after Adam Porritt received two yellow cards.

Sharp handed a first start to Sam Gordon and also brought Scott Davidson back into the starting line-up with Ben Williamson out injured and Rory Williamson on the bench. There was a late change to the team with Tom Maclennan injured in the warm-up. He was replaced by Seamus McConaghy, which meant the teams were:

Nairn County – Dylan Maclean, Adam Porritt (yellow 56, 67), Cohen Ramsay, Glenn Main, Ryan Fyffe, John Treasurer (y 11), Sam Gordon, Seamus McConaghy (Rory Williamson 74), Conor Gethins (y 44) (Ciaran Young 80), Scott Davidson, Liam Shewan (Dylan Mackenzie 74). Subs unused: Tom Maclennan, Angus Dey, Lewis Mitchell, Will Counsell (gk).

Inverurie Locos – Andy Reid, Greg Mitchell, Calum Dingwall, Mark Souter, Ryan Broadhurst, Robert Ward, Neil Gauld, Kieran Shanks (yellow 90+2), Ross Still (y 60), Craig Gill, Nathan Meres (Andy Hunter 39). Subs unused: Thomas Reid, Lloyd Robertson, Morgan Cook (gk).

The only goal of the game came 16 minutes in. A corner from the Locos right was headed down at the far post by Ross Still and bounced up in front of goalkeeper Dylan Maclean, with the predatory Neil Gauld applying the finishing touch amidst the goalmouth scramble which followed.

There was little between the sides for the remaining 75-or-so minutes. A Locos long throw from the right was allowed to bounce before being cleared out to Robert Ward. He shifted the ball on to his right foot before failing to trouble Maclean with his shot from 22 yards, which cleared the crossbar by a good few yards.

A minute later, Liam Shewan’s low cross from the left was blocked by the outstretched arm of the sliding Greg Mitchell in the penalty area but the Nairn appeals were waved away by referee Harry Bruce. It was not the last time the official was to bemuse the hosts.

Five minutes after the break, a Mitchell cross from the left was powerfully headed over the top by Andy Hunter.

There was concern for John Treasurer when he was cynically shoved into his own goalkeeper by a Locos forward as the Nairn defender backtracked and Maclean advanced from his line to scoop up the overhit through pass. The incident was completely missed by the officials with play being allowed to continue. Fortunately, Treasurer was able to play on after some treatment having been clattered in the head by Maclean, who also escaped the needless incident unscathed.

Then, on 66 minutes, Conor Gethins’ disguised clipped free kick into the penalty are found Scott Davidson but his header was comfortable for Inverurie goalkeeper, Andy Reid.

We were then reduced to 10 men minute when Adam Porritt received a second yellow card for pulling back a Locos player close to the touchline. This was despite Scott Davidson being hauled to the ground when about to shoot from 22 yards shortly beforehand and Sam Gordon being bundled over from the back as we broke forward just afterwards and neither offence receiving a caution.

An excellent save by Maclean on 79 minutes kept the deficit at one. As we committed more players forward with 10 men in search of a leveller, Kieran Shanks was free on the angle from the right to drill the ball towards the far post but hit was superbly tipped away by the Nairn number one.

Shanks threatened again on 82 minutes. His blast from a tight angle on the right beat Maclean but was blocked by the sliding Rory Williamson. The ball came back to the Locos forward on the by-line and he cut it back to the arriving Ward. But the Locos midfielder scooped his first time shot from just eight yards miles over the crossbar.

We had one final sight of goal to salvage a point on 87 minutes. Cohen Ramsay fed Scott Davidson inside the box to the left of goal and his rising effort seemed destined for the top corner at the near post. But the ball took a slight nick off a covering defender to divert it off target.

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