Written by Nairn County FC October 2nd 2021

Grant Hogg’s first two goals for the Reserves earned Stuart Finnie’s side a narrow 2-1 win against Orkney at Helmsdale.

The victory takes them up to third spot in the standings with three wins from their opening four league games and makes it a back-to-back double success against the Islanders.

Finnie said:

“We are delighted to get another three points but it was not pretty and we really had to dig deep. I think the most pleasing thing about the win is we all knew we did not play well but we managed to get our noses in front and we really had something to hold on to.

“It was an ugly win but we showed a different side to ourselves and showed we can win games when we are not anywhere near our best.”

He added:

“I saw something this morning which said you need desire, passion, belief and motivation to win football on a Saturday and we lacked that in the first half. I thought Orkney were definitely hungrier and had more desire, especially in the first half.

“We were a little better in the second half but Orkney still had the majority of the ball. In saying that, between both teams, I do not think there were that many clear cut chances and I do not recall either goalkeeper making anything but routine saves.

“They will probably feel hard done by because they had more possession but we defended really well when we had to. We tried changing our shape about a couple of times but we just could not find that spark – that is partly down to the last six weeks being stop-start with us having free weeks, so we just need a run of games now and hopefully the sharpness will come back.

“I would like to wish Charlie (Alway, Orkney manager) and his team the best of luck for the rest of the season.”

Finnie made two changes to the team which played the last time these two sides met a fortnight ago as Robbie Lean and Robbie Mackenzie came in for Callum Ednie and Seamus McConaghy.

Nairn County Reserves – Fraser Wilkie, Robbie Lean, John Grant, Callum Morrison, Nathan Grant, Grant Hogg, Robbie Mackenzie (Shaun Young 65), Euan Logan (Will Jack 75), Logan Hallam, Scott Mutch, Kyle MacDonald (Duncan Robertson 85).

Sub unused: Gus Wilson (gk).

We went in front just a minute before half time.

Kyle MacDonald whipped in an in-swinging free kick from the left that was bundled in by Grant Hogg for his first goal in Nairn colours.

Orkney levelled midway through the second half.

A free kick from out on the right was headed back across goal at the far post for Liam Delday to tap in.

Then, on 87 minutes, MacDonald nicked the ball off an Orkney defender but saw his shot turned behind by the goalkeeper for a corner.

The resulting delivery from MacDonald was headed up into the air by Hogg and as the ball fell, he was able to swivel and hit it on the turn, gaining a sweet connection to send the ball crashing into the bottom corner to win it.

It could have been more comfortable when Shaun Young powered down the right late on, beating his man and then playing an enticing ball across the face of goal.

Will Jack was on hand at the far post unmarked to meet it but just as he was about to apply the finishing touch, he was pulled back by a defender.

But the incident was missed by the referee.

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