Written by Nairn County FC October 31st 2020

Kieran Duffty became the second Nairn County Reserves player to hit a hat-trick in just three matches this North Caledonian League season as his treble helped sink Bonar Bridge on a blustery day at Station Park. The 7-3 win takes Stuart Finnie's side back up to second in the table, one point behind Loch Ness, who were held to a 1-1 draw at Inverness Athletic this afternoon. The two clubs meet again next Friday night at Canal Park in what is once again a top-of-the-table clash. In this one, an own goal put Finnie's side on their way with Ciaran Young on target before Duffty's hat-trick while a late double from Logan Hallam rounded off the tally. Finnie said: "We are delighted to win the game and scoring seven goals is brilliant for the players' confidence. Having said that, although we scored seven goals, I actually still feel we could play better. I think there were a lot of times we were trying to force the final pass instead of being patient. "I thought some of the finishes were outstanding and we were ruthless in front of goal. But we are disappointed once again at the goals conceded. I want to see the team angry when they concede a goal. Although we are scoring plenty, we are letting teams in with easy goals and we need to get meaner at the back and value the importance of a clean sheet." Finnie added: "It has been a super start to the season and us coaches are really enjoying watching the boys take on board what we are saying and putting it into games. As long as they keep showing a willingness to keep learning and improve each game then we cannot ask any more from them. "We move on to next week and a tough game away to Loch Ness, where hopefully the boys will take confidence from the second half showing against them last week. "We send our best wishes to Bonar Bridge for the rest of their season." Finnie made three changes to his starting line-up with Logan Hallam only fit enough to make the bench meaning Duffty made his first start of the season. Liam Balfour came straight back into the starting line-up after missing out last week through illness while Ryan Moodie earned a start after his performance as a sub last week. The team was: Nairn County Reserves – Gus Wilson, Liam Balfour, John Grant, Scott Mutch, Nathan Grant (Louis Gordon 63), Euan Logan, Robbie Mackenzie, Sam Gordon (Duncan Robertson 77), Kieran Duffty (Kyle Macdonald 71), Ciaran Young (Logan Hallam 71), Ryan Moodie (Darren Mota 69). Subs unused: -. Finnie's youngsters should have been in front within the first 10 seconds of the match. Straight from kick-off, Liam Balfour's ball forward found Young and he played in Duffty. But he took an extra touch, which allowed the goalkeeper to narrow the angle and save with his right boot with Sam Gordon blasting the follow up over the bar. On six minutes though, Gordon picked out Robbie Mackenzie on the right and he charged infield towards goal before blasting a low delivery across the face of goal. With Duffty and Young waiting to pounce, Bonar defender Jack Mitchell turned the ball into his own net in his attempts to clear. Nairn overplayed things at the back two minutes later and surrendered possession 25 yards from their own goal but goalkeeper Gus Wilson made a brave save at the feet of the striker. A foul on Ryan Moodie on the edge of the box 18 minutes in allowed Young the chance to test the goalkeeper from the set piece. And he bent the ball over the wall and on target, with the power on the strike too much for the visiting custodian as the ball flashed into the net. Wilson was called into action four minutes later with a fine save down to his left but there was nothing he could do as Bonar Bridge pulled a goal back on 34 minutes. Miller Mackay managed to turn just inside the Nairn box before trundling a shot beyond the grasp of Wilson. But Wilson was involved as we went 3-1 up on 37 minutes. His clipped past upfield sent Young in behind the Bonar Bridge defence with the attacker then squaring the ball across goal for Duffty to run on to and sweep home 10 yards out. Indeed, Duffty should have doubled his tally just a minute later when he peeled off his marker to meet Gordon's through pass but his shot was blocked by the goalkeeper's right foot. The half finished on a high for Nairn though as we went 4-1 up. Balfour showed great composure to turn defence into attack as he picked out the run of Duffty with a forward pass from just inside the Bonar half. The forward did the rest as he brought the ball under control before coolly rolling his shot beyond the goalkeeper. Bonar Bridge came out with renewed vigour after the break as they looked for the goal which could give them a way back into the match. Mackay managed to turn his marker on 62 minutes but Wilson was out sharply, which meant the centre forward clipped his across goal and wide. But we went 5-1 up three minutes after the hour-mark. A cross in from the left ran all the way through to Mackenzie on the far side. He got past a defender on his way to the by-line and dug out a cross to Duffty, who controlled the ball before tucking it home to complete his hat-trick. Substitute Logan Hallam made an instant impact just four minutes later taking to the field as he made it six with 15 minutes to play. The goalkeeper raced off his line to try to thwart the forward to the left of goal but the Nairn youngster showed a cool head to round the shot stopper and roll the ball into the net from a tight angle for his first goal of the season. Bonar Bridge pulled another goal back on 78 minutes though with Rhys Hossack first to meet Mackay's pull back from the left at the front post as the ball flashed beyond the helpless Wilson. Kyle MacDonald raced in on goal on 84 minutes but his first touch let him down as the Bonar Bridge goalkeeper raced from his goal line to thwart the young attacker. We made it seven on 87 minutes though with Euan Logan picking out Darren Mota on the left. His powerful drive across goal was parried by the goalkeeper but Hallam was on hand at the far post to bundle home his second of the day. Bonar Bridge grabbed the last goal of the match though as a corner kick from the left in the final minute was not dealt with as the ball was allowed to bounce through to Stan Keith, who managed to loop an impressive overhead kick beyond Wilson.

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