Written by Nairn County FC September 26th 2016

THE HOSTS were always on top in this North of Scotland League top-of-the-table clash and it was Alness United who left Station Park the more satisfied with the outcome of the 1-1 draw. The County youngsters had the majority of the chances but unfortunately could only find the net once through Jordan Macrae with Ali MacKinnon's leveller after the break scrambling a share of the spoils for the visitors. County should have broken the deadlock on the quarter-hour after some fantastic skill by Nick Highet saw him wriggle away from three defenders and hit the deadball line. The attacker clipped a cross to the far post but it was sent well over the crossbar by Jason Morganti's side-footed volley. Just a minute later though, the hosts found the net and what a goal it was. Jordan Macrae had the time and space to lift his head 25 yards out and he smashed a rasping drive beyond the clutches of Will Counsell in the Alness goal. Nairn continued to carry a threat going forward and on 19 minutes, Reece Barton showed good technique to keep down a volley off a dropping ball and his low effort flew just past the right-hand post. A neat Alness move resulted in Ryan Macleod being called into action on 35 minutes as he held on to Michael Mackenzie's 12-yard drive. Then, two minutes later, Craig Munro saw a header off a corner blocked on the goal line with the Nairn centre half then seeing a follow up held by Counsell. Morganti slipped a pass to Matty Macleod on 39 minutes and from 18 yards, he reversed a low shot across goal that bounced just past the post. Alness were level four minutes after the break. Ali MacKinnon stepped on to the ball and from 25 yards, blasted a powerful effort across the diving Ryan Macleod and into the net to score the first goal conceded by Nairn under-20s in over two-and-a-half games. Macrae should have re-established Nairn's lead on 56 minutes. The lightning quick striker latched on to a long ball forward and raced away from the Alness defence to advance in on goal from the left but with time on his side, he bent his right-footed shot across goal and past the far post. Substitute Sam Gordon latched on to a Macleod through pass but his angled shot was kept out by a sliding block from an Alness defender. Nairn County – R. Macleod, Alexander, Trialist, Munro, Ednie (yellow 60), Barton, Grant (y 77) (Colliar 87), Morganti (Gordon 64), Macrae, M. Macleod, Highet (MacBean 72). Subs unused: Tweedie, Wilkie (gk). Alness United – Counsell, MacLennan, MacKay (yellow 80), Symonds, MacDonald (y 42), Sutherland, Nicholson (y 63), Lowe (Grant 64), MacKenzie, MacKinnon, Kelly (Campbell 68). Subs unused: Trialist. Referee – Molly Alexander. Graeme Macleod

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