Written by Nairn County FC May 28th 2021

The Reserves geared up for the return of the North Caledonian League with a friendly against Culloden Blacksmiths at the Riverside last night with the visitors running out 3-1 winners. Culloden fielded three former Nairn players in goalkeepers Ryan Macleod and Fraser Wilkie – who played a half each – and defender Cameron Maclean. Kieran Duffty controlled a throw-in from the right on 10 minutes and fed Ciaran Young but his low shot was touched behind at the near post. Off the short corner which followed, Culloden goalkeeper Macleod held Scott Mutch’s low effort from 15 yards down to his left. The visitors took the lead on 13 minutes and it was a poor goal for Nairn to lose. A long throw-in from the right was allowed to bounce through to the unmarked Stephen Rennie. And he made no mistake rifling high past Fraser Wilkie. But we levelled it six minutes later. Young nicked the ball off Liam Carson from a short pass out by Macleod before advancing in on goal and rolling the ball past the ‘keeper. There were chances at both ends as the first half approached its close. Sean MacPherson spun and shot just over the target at the near post on the right on 35 minutes. A minute later, Logan Hallam rode two challenges to advance in on goal and although his shot beat Macleod, the ball clipped the top of the crossbar and dropped on to the roof of the net. But the visitors went up the other end and retook the lead. Antony McCulloch was unmarked at the left-edge of the box and was able to loop the ball over Nairn goalkeeper Gus Wilson to put Culloden 2-1 up. Nairn pushed for a leveller but the visitors were comfortable with our youngsters unable to fashion any clear cut attempts at goal. Indeed, it was the visitors who almost found the net next but Rennie’s effort at the near post on the right was off target. Culloden made sure of the win 17 minutes from the end. Glenn Donoghue delivered a low cross from the right and James Stewart tucked home at the far post. Nairn had a few chances to get back into it as the second half wore on – substitute Kyle MacDonald teed up Sam Gordon on 78 minutes but he fizzed his shot just past the post. Then, on 88 minutes, MacDonald worked the ball to Young from the left and from close range at the near post he managed to eke out a shot but it was blocked by the feet of Wilkie. In injury time, Rory Williamson strode forward from right back charging past two defenders before seeing his drive from the edge of the box held by Wilkie. Best wishes to Culloden Blacksmiths in the Inverness Amateur League this summer. Nairn County Reserves – Gus Wilson, Lewis Mitchell (Nathan Grant 60), John Grant, Liam Balfour (Duncan Robertson 63), Scott Mutch (Louis Gordon 78), Rory Williamson, Sam Gordon (Ciaran Young 78), Euan Logan (Callum Morrison 63), Logan Hallam (Ryan Moodie 75), Ciaran Young (Robbie Mackenzie 46), Kieran Duffty (Kyle MacDonald 66). Subs unused: -.

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