Written by Nairn County FC November 7th 2016

FOUR first half goals earned Nairn County U20s three points against table-toppers Alness United at Station Park. Both sides had half chances early on and the closest there was to an opening goal was on 13 minutes. Nick Highet evaded a challenge to race forward down the left and from a tight angle, he lifted the ball over the goalkeeper but saw it smack the face of the crossbar. Liam Hutchison then saw a serving free kick from the left dip just over the crossbar two minutes later as Alness looked for an opener. It was County's turn to threaten two minutes later after a great passing move from the back with a number of one-twos saw Sam Gordon slip Dylan Mackenzie in but his low drive came back off the near post. The hosts broke the deadlock on 22 minutes. Sam Gordon swung in a free kick from the left and Craig Munro showed great strength to out-muscle two defenders and send a looping header across Alness goalkeeper Will Counsell. There was almost a quick second for Nairn two minutes later with Craig Alexander firing in a low cross that Mackenzie connected with but his effort was blocked by a timely intervention from the tracking Alness defender. County found their second goal on 29 minutes though. Trialist fired in a low cross which seemed routine for Counsell in the Alness goal but he took his eye off it and dropped the ball to the feet of Nick Highet for the attacker to roll home. Craig Munro grabbed his second of the night three minutes later. The big centre half was on hand to divert a cross from the left into the corner of the net with a glancing header. Alness responded a minute later through a fizzing drive from Connor Ross but Ryan Macleod was equal to it as he tipped the ball over the bar. But Nairn went four in front with 10 minutes of the half remaining. Highet slipped in Dylan Mackenzie and he showed great strength and pace to shrug off his marker and despatch a cool, low shot under Counsell. The visitors almost pulled a goal back 10 minutes from the end but Ryan Macleod threw himself to his right to tip away Daniel Sutherland's low shot from the edge of the box. At the other end two minutes later, trialist took down a cross from the right and saw his low shot across goal trickle just past the post. Alness full back Calum MacLennan then sent a header over the crossbar at the far post after he met a cross in from the left. Nairn County – R. Macleod, Alexander, Reid, Munro, Ednie, Barton, Gordon (Fraser 62), Grant, D. Mackenzie (MacBean 41), Highet (Cuthbert 77), Trialist. Subs unused: Tweedie, Wilkie (gk). Alness United – Counsell, MacLennan, Low, Symonds, Dingwall, Sutherland, Nicolson (yellow 49) (Brown 74), Ross, Grant (y 67), Gow (Campbell 66), Hutchison. Subs unused: Rae, Brown. Referee – Gavin Dearie. Graeme Macleod

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