Written by Nairn County FC November 19th 2020

We saved the best until last as we put 10 past Inverness Athletic in our latest pre-season friendly at a rainswept Station Park. Liam Shewan (2), Tam Maclennan (2), Scott Davidson (2), Callum Maclean, Glenn Main and Ciaran Young were all on target before Gussie Dey smashed home the pick of the bunch with seven minutes left. There was a first appearance in a County shirt for summer signing Calum Howarth, who came on midway through the second half after recovering from a knee injury. Will Counsell, Adam Porritt, Jack Maclean, Gordon McNab and Scott Davidson were all back in the starting eleven with Dylan Maclean, Young, Dey and Seamus McConaghy among the substitutes and Adam Naismith unavailable due to work commitments. Nairn County – Will Counsell (Dylan Maclean 46), Callum Maclean, Cohen Ramsay (Kenny McKenzie 67), Adam Porritt, Fraser Dingwall (Calum Howarth 67), Jack Maclean (Callum Ednie 46), Max Ewan (Seamus McConaghy 46), Tam Maclennan, Liam Shewan (Glenn Main 58), Gordon McNab (Gussie Dey 58), Scott Davidson (Ciaran Young 58). Subs unused: – Inverness Athletic – Ryan Macleod, Connor Smith, Craig Morrison, Lewis Smith, Ruaraidh Patience, Paul Gair, Matty Shewan, Tom Fulton, Gary Calvert, Luke Mackay, Jack Davidson. Subs (all used): Liam Symonds, Lennox Lauder-Smith, Michael Grant, Connor Bunce, Kyle Taylor, Daniel Rae. The visitors contributed to the contest far more than the scoreline suggests and battled away throughout the 90 minutes. Indeed, they gave us a couple of early scares and settled well. But there was a ruthlessness to our attacking play which had been missing in previous outings with the manager's demands for sharper finishing in front of goal being met. Scott Davidson's low drive from 20 yards out after eight minutes was held by Ryan Macleod in the Inverness goal before our former goalkeeper stood up well at his near post to repel Liam Shewan's powerful effort from a tight angle on the left a minute later. Both players were involved again as we took the lead on 12 minutes. Davidson dinked a great through pass which Shewan superbly controlled on the run before clinically despatching beyond Macleod. Davidson had a hand in the next goal as Max Ewan ran in from the left to meet the striker's through pass. His low shot was kept out by another great save from Macleod but the rebound came back to Ewan and when he fired it across goal, it was bundled home by Shewan for his second of the night. Adam Porritt's incisive pass forward on 29 minutes was superbly flicked around the corner by the outside of Ewan's right boot. That sent Davidson in the clear and he tried to dink his shot over Macleod but the goalkeeper stood up well to make the block. Maclennan made it three with 10 minutes of the first half remaining as the ball rolled invitingly into his path 22 yards out and he stepped on to it to sweep a dipping shot into the bottom left-hand corner of the net with Macleod rooted. Davidson then gathered in a Callum Maclean cross from the right with his back to goal on 41 minutes before turning his man and firing goalwards. But Macleod made the save as he diverted the ball past for a corner. From the resulting set piece, Maclennan's delivery from the left appeared to strike Davidson on the chest before bouncing off the inside of the near post and dropping over the line to make it four. A great reaction save from Macleod prevented Davidson from making it five on 43 minutes. The striker stretched out a leg to meet Ewan's cross from the left with a volley at the near post but the Athletic number one managed to re-adjust and throw himself back across his goal to tip the ball wide. A Seamus McConaghy flick sent Davidson clear on 55 minutes. He turned in from the left and was able to roll the ball home with his right foot from just outside the box for our fifth of the night. Three minutes later, Cohen Ramsay's sumptuous cross from the left was met by the head of the charging Callum Maclean, who did not have to break stride as he timed his run perfectly to meet the delivery and direct the ball back across goal, beyond Athletic substitute goalkeeper, Daniel Rae. Maclennan's free kick made it seven on 72 minutes. He lifted the ball up and over the wall from 22 yards with it then flashing past the helpless Rae. Kenny McKenzie's cut back from the left three minutes later found fellow substitute Glenn Main at the near post but he was thwarted by Rae, who made a fine double save. But there was nothing the Athletic stopped could do to prevent Main getting on the score sheet on 79 minutes. The County attacker was sharpest to Maclennan's low corner kick delivery from the left as he made a run across the front post and was able to redirect the ball on target with the pace on the delivery enough to beat Rae. Just two minutes later, we made it nine. McConaghy scampered down the left as he made another lightning break forward. His low ball into the box was too far in front of Main in the middle but Young ran on to it at the far post before turning inside his man and squeezing a shot under Rae, which crept inside the left-hand upright. Then, the best of the lot arrived on 83 minutes. Maclennan's out-swinging corner kick from the right came in at waist height and was cushioned down by the boot of Main 15 yards out at the near post. Dey then ran on to the ball as it dropped and rifled it goalwards first time, with his shot cracking off the underside of the crossbar on its way home. Best wishes to Inverness Athletic for the rest of their season.

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