Written by Nairn County FC December 19th 2016

RONNIE Sharp thought his Nairn County side should have been awarded a last-minute penalty in this 1-1 draw with Keith. The controversial incident saw substitute Dylan Mackenzie tripped on the box by Keith defender Bruce Milne as he advanced to the by-line on the left but referee Thomas Shaw instead awarded a corner kick instead of pointing to the spot. Sharp said: "We had more momentum than they did in the second half and I thought it was definitely a stick-on penalty for us at the end. Their defender made no contact with the ball, just with the player and for some reason, the ref gave a corner. It was not even a corner because there were only two things he could have done there – given a penalty or booked Dylan for diving and it was not a dive." County took the lead through captain, Wayne Mackintosh on 16 minutes but saw the visitors level through Luke Barbour's effort just a minute later and that was how it finished. Sharp added: "It was another good performance from us and we are going all the way to the end. The players are pushing, pushing, pushing all of the time. I thought we played some good stuff in the first half. We were 1-0 up and it was a pity that we did not hold on a bit longer." "We have had a hard run of games and Keith are good side. They are not in the top seven for no reason and they are a good team. That is where we are striving to be and hopefully we can continue to build from here but it will another hard one for us next week at Formartine." County had another strong claim for a penalty in the second half when Jack Maclean was shoved in the back as he stooped to head home a Jamie Mackay cross from the right. Sharp said: "I was a good bit away from that, so I did really see it. I saw the contact and there was a big shout for a penalty but I do not really know if there was enough contact to commit a foul. The other one though, I am pretty convinced was a penalty." The manager was again pleased with the effort and performance from his players as they made it four points from a possible six against a Keith side who are level sixth in the Highland League table. He said: "We played at the same level as we did last week and I cannot fault the boys at all. It is a new team altogether and they are giving us absolutely everything all the way to the end of games. They are giving us 90-95 minutes of solid, hard work and good team performances. We cannot ask for more than that." Graeme Macleod

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