Written by Nairn County FC October 21st 2020

There were injury concerns for both ourselves and Inverness CT following last night's friendly at Station Park. The visitors ran out 2-1 winners but lost Lewis Nicolson early on to what looked like a serious knee injury. He was taken to hospital by ambulance after coming off just five minutes in. We all wish him well on his recovery. Meanwhile, in the second half, our own Lewis Mitchell landed awkwardly on his shoulder, again just five minutes after taking to the field – this time as a substitute. An x-ray at Raigmore Hospital revealed good news though in that the 19-year-old sustained a pulled muscle in the deltoid and avoided any broken bones. Scott Davidson and Kenny McKenzie were rested for this one with Calum Howarth and Dylan Mackenzie on the injury list. The team appearing in the new black away kit for the very first time was: Nairn County – Dylan Maclean (Will Counsell 46), Callum Ednie (Lewis Mitchell 61) (Jack Maclean 66), Adam Porritt, Fraser Dingwall, Callum Maclean (Adam Naismith 46), Max Ewan, Tom Maclennan (Ciaran Young 74), Glenn Main (Gussie Dey 56), Gordon McNab, Liam Shewan (Seamus McConaghy 46). Subs unused: -. Inverness CT – Cameron Mackay, Jacob Kerr, Lewis Nicolson (Rory Williamson 5) (Alasdair Riddle 74), Lewis Hyde, Danny Devine (Grant Hogg 46), Ryan Fyffe (Kenneth MacInnes 74), Harry Hennem (Cailean Eaglesham 74), James Vincent (Kane Davies 46), Ethan Cairns, Robbie Thompson, Shane Harkness. Sub unused: – Ruardhri Nicol (gk). The home side passed up numerous chances to secure the win, particularly in the second half. The first half was more of an even affair as both sides looked threatening in the final third on a dreich night. Max Ewan's thunderous volley from 25 yards out on seven minutes was held by Cameron Mackay in the Inverness goal before Fraser Dingwall picked out Cohen Ramsay with a long diagonal pass eight minutes later. He then played a give-and-go with Ewan at the left side of the box before shooting low, across goal and wide. Ewan bent his run across the Inverness defence on 25 minutes and was fed by Glenn Main. He then slipped the ball under the advancing Mackay and into the net but was judged to have made the run a fraction too early and was called offside. Ethan Cairns' header off a deep cross from the right was held by Dylan Maclean on 26 minutes and then the impressive Harry Hennem's curling shot was also clutched by the County 'keeper six minutes later. Shane Harkness broke the deadlock on 33 minutes though as he capitalised on poor distribution from the back by Nairn to nick possession and weave in from the right before dinking the ball beyond Maclean. We almost responded five minutes later when Liam Shewan met Ewan's low delivery from the left at the front post. But Mackay spread himself well to block the Nairn wide man's first time effort. Hennem then ran at the heart of the Nairn defence four minutes before the break, beating two men before shooting against the crossbar from 15 yards. Cairns was on the follow up but his shot was held by Maclean. Lewis Hyde's free kick from 22 yards was then pushed behind by Maclean a minute later as the visitors ended the half on top. The tables turned after the break though with Nairn dominating and although we equalised early in the half, the second goal would not come and we were made to pay at the other end. Indeed, we could have had four goals in the first seven minutes following the restart. The one which did arrive came on 47 minutes when a corner kick from the left was cleared to Gordon McNab and from 25 yards out, he sent a volley sailing over the head of Mackay to level things up. Ewan then breezed past Grant Hogg down the left a minute later and picked out Ramsay with the cross. But his header at the far post drifted across goal and wide. Ewan was involved again on 50 minutes as he headed down Dingwall's deep cross from the right at the far post to Seamus McConaghy. But he toe-poked the ball over from eight yards. Tom Maclennan drove at the ICT defence two minutes later before slipping a pass into the stride of Ewan. He lost his footing at the crucial moment though, which meant he could only stab his shot past the right-hand post. Lewis Mitchell appeared just after the hour-mark as a substitute for Callum Ednie, who sustained a dead leg. It was an eventful five minutes on the pitch for the youngster as he was millimetres away from getting on the end of Ewan's fizzed ball across goal from the left on 62 minutes as he slid in at the far post but it was just too far in front of him to convert. Just a couple of minutes later, he was taken off and on his way to Raigmore Hospital. McConaghy then played an incisive angled pass towards centre forward Gussie Dey at the edge of the box. He stepped over the ball to allow it to run through to the unmarked Ewan but his effort with the outside of his right boot was blocked by the sprawling Mackay. The visitors' young side had ridden the storm by this stage, with the frequency at which Nairn were creating chances decreasing as the half wore on. A combination of Jack Maclean and Dey scooped a loose ball over the crossbar from close range 10 minutes from the end and then the sucker punch at the other end arrived with four minutes left. Harkness fired an angled ball across goal from the right. Whether it was a shot or not, it was going off target at the far post but the opportunistic Cairns reacted well to slide in and redirect it back across goal, with the ball nestling just inside the right-hand post to win it for the visitors. Best wishes to the Inverness CT youngsters for the rest of their season.

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