Written by Nairn County FC February 11th 2018

RONNIE Sharp was left feeling as if his side had to win this Highland League (Morganti) Cup first round tie three times having seen Nairn County miss two penalties before twice going two-goals in front but then being prevented from easing to victory by visitors Lossiemouth. Jordan MacRae and Glenn Main both saw their efforts from 12 yards saved by Blair Moir in the Lossie goal before Jack Maclean and Dylan Mackenzie struck to ease nerves around Station Park. But Ryan Farquhar pulled one back for the Coasters with MacRae finding his way on to the score sheet early on in the second half to restore County’s two-goal advantage. Farquhar then netted again just three minutes later but Lossiemouth could not put County under any real sustained pressure as they looked to force extra time with Nairn being left to sweat it out more than they should have given their overall dominance. “I think it was a game we won three times,” said Sharp afterwards. “If we had scored the two penalties, we would definitely have made it easier for ourselves. We cannot keep doing this because that is three penalties we have missed in two games. I know it is difficult because our main penalty taker is Gregg (Main) and he is injured at the moment but it is a skill that we do not seem to have at the moment. “I thought we played well enough in the first half and found ourselves 2-0 up but we let them back into the game. We lost a goal right on half time and that meant it was a different scenario altogether in the second half as we went in 2-1 up instead of 2-0 up and we got nervous after that. “We went 3-1 up and then we let them back in again through over-committing in the middle of the park. We gave away goals that we should not have. We are a bit naïve at times and it is something that we are just going to have to learn. Last week was the same when we lost the goal late on to go 2-2 but it is something that comes with experience and we just need to learn how to shut-up-shop a wee bit because we overloaded with too many players going forward at 3-1. “Overall, we have to be delighted because we are through to the next round and it is another win to take us to three wins on the trot, which is good.” All three Nairn goal-scorers were 20 years old or under with Maclean contributing his fourth strike of the season while Mackenzie and MacRae moved on to 10 and 15 goals respectively. Sharp said: “I thought it was a good little run by Jack and an excellent knockdown from Dylan Mackenzie. Jack then took his time and knocked it in the corner. It is also good that Dylan and Jordan as the main strikers are scoring regularly. I know Jordan has missed a couple of penalties and that will not be pleasing himself but they are both scoring well and causing problems. “I thought Dylan’s goal was an excellent header – it was well-placed and the sort of goal you see from a more experienced player. It was good combination work between him and Jordan. “Jordan would have felt a weight lift off his shoulders when he scored having missed the penalty. It was a good finish – a good turn and a left-footed strike into the corner.” “We conceded again just after that to make it difficult for ourselves again and as I said, it felt like we had to win the game three times.” Graeme Macleod

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