It took a while for Nairn County to get going following Angus Dey’s early strike in this win over Strathspey Thistle but it turned out to be a stroll in the early spring sunshine for Ronnie Sharp’s men as three second-half goals reflected the home side’s overall superiority.
It took until early on in the second half for Dey’s opener to be added to but there only looked like there was going to be one winner once Seamus McConaghy had made it two.
Tom Maclennan and Ciaran Young served up further strikes to round off a good day’s work for County and only a third home win of the season, two of which have come at the expense of the Grantown Jags.
It was the visitors who had the first sight of goal with Liam McDade’s crisp drive from 22 yards requiring the attentions of Dylan Maclean, as the goalkeeper dived to his right to touch the ball behind for a corner.
At the other end, Andrew Greig was brushed off the ball by Ashley Ballam in the penalty area on seven minutes but nothing was doing from referee, Gordon Morrison.
The opener arrived three minutes later, though. Again, Greig was involved as he got the better of Ballam to creat the space for a cross. His deep delivery found Cameron Lisle at the far post and he knocked the ball back across goal for Angus Dey – who had ghosted in with an unchecked third-man run – and he had the simple task of tapping home from a few yards.
A rapid break six minutes later almost led to a second. Seamus McConaghy controlled a clearance out on the touchline in front of the stand and set Cameron Lisle on an enterprising burst forward. He played the ball across the face of the box for Cohen Ramsay, whose neat back flick picked out the unmarked Greig. But his bending shot across goal came back off the far post.
McDade again called Maclean into action, this time on 21 minutes. Nairn failed to properly clear a corner kick with the ball dropping for the Strathspey left back to blast goalwards on the volley. But Maclean excelled again as he threw himself to his left to touch the ball behind and keep his team ahead.
Ten minutes later, Tom Maclennan’s out-swinging free kick from wide on the right found the head of goalscorer Dey but his glancing effort went past the far post.
McConaghy’s cutback from the right found Glenn Main on 33 minutes but the ball was slightly behind the Nairn captain, meaning he failed to make a proper connection with his shot rendering the save a simple one for Robert Donaldson in the Strathspey goal.
Cameron Lisle marked his debut with a goal last week and he almost repeated the feat 37 minutes into his home bow. He drove inside from the right and let fly with a left-footed effort 20 yards out and the ball whistled past the left-hand upright.
On the stroke of half time, McConaghy again teed up Main in the box but this time the forward poked the ball off target as his effort went wide.
We gave ourselves the breathing space we craved just over a minute into the second half. Maclennan’s corner kick from the right went all the way through to the unmarked McConaghy. He worked the ball out of his feet and guided his effort across goal and into the bottom corner.
Greig’s low cross from the left two minutes later found Glenn Main but he was too far beyond the near post to clip the ball home as he crashed into the side netting from a tight angle.
Thistle looked to catch Nairn on the break in their quest for a way back into the match and on 68 minutes, Maclean had to look lively to race out and twart Jags winger, Ross Logan.
But the points were made save on 75 minutes. Jordan Wardrope’s handball inside the penalty area gifted Nairn a spot kick and Maclennan stepped up to coolly stroke home from 12 yards to make it three.
An impressive second half showing was rounded off five minutes from the end. Substitute Ciaran Young saw his initial shot blocked by Donaldson. But Young retrieved the loose ball just to the right of goal and from the tightest of angles, he managed to squeeze his effort beyond the recovering Donaldson and two covering defenders for his seventh goal of the season.
Nairn County – Dylan Maclean, Adam Porritt, Cohen Ramsay, Tom Maclennan (yellow 78), Ryan Fyffe, Fraser Dingwall, Cameron Lisle, Angus Dey (Callum Ednie 85), Seamus McConaghy (Ciaran Young 51), Glenn Main (Sam Gordon 75), Andrew Greig. Subs unused: John Treasurer, Will Counsell (gk).
Strathspey Thistle – Robert Donaldson, Ashley Ballam (Chris Innes 56), Liam McDade, Jordan Wardrope, James McShane, Joe Cuthbert (Jack Davison 63), Ross Logan, Craig Mackenzie, James Fraser, Kris Duncan, Jake Thomson (Dylan Lawrence 49). Sub unused: Fraser Russell.
Referee – Gordon Morrison.