Written by Nairn County FC July 22nd 2017

FOUR goals from Jordan MacRae was the highlight as Nairn County ended pre-season with a convincing away victory at North Region Juniors Division One (West) side, New Elgin. MacRae was restored to the starting line-up along with Callum Maclean, Kenny McKenzie and Ryan MacDonald as manager Ronnie Sharp went for a more experienced-looking first eleven. There was also starts for trialist Scott MacDonald – who appeared from the bench at Nairn St Ninian on Thursday night – and Inverness CT goalkeeper Stephen Foster, who was also playing as a trialist. MacRae looked lively early on as he stooped to head a deep Ross Naismith cross from the right just over the bar only two minutes in but just five minutes later, he opened his account for the afternoon. Again it was a Naismith ball in from the right that provided the source, this time the attacking midfielder whipped in an out-swinging free kick that Jack Maclean headed back across goal at the far post for Jordan MacRae to bundle home. Nairn were two goals to the good on 33 minutes with Kenny McKenzie cutting the ball back from the left for Jordan MacRae to run on to and divert across goal and into the net via the far post. The young attacker was denied a first-half hat-trick by the New Elgin goalkeeper on 41 minutes with the stopper looking lively to race from his line to thwart the County forward after he had ran on to Ross Naismith's through pass. County kicked on after the break and added a third goal just a minute after the turnaround. Again, Ross Naismith was involved as his quick free kick to the by-line on the right was just kept in by Callum Ednie, with the young defender floating a cross to the far post which was headed home by Jack Maclean from almost on the goal line. Ewen Urquhart guided a first time, curling shot from inside the D at the edge of the box into the goalkeeper's arms on 50 minutes before MacRae headed a Ross Naismith corner from the left across goal and wide. Jordan MacRae completed his hat-trick on 53 minutes though with McKenzie pulling the ball back from the left for him to ran on to and blast a shot across the goalkeeper and into the far corner of the net. McKenzie then diverted Urquhart's low cross from the left past the near post five minutes later before the left-sided player teed up Ross Naismith on the hour-mark but he fired just over from 22 yards. But Jordan MacRae added to his haul on 63 minutes after he screwed a low shot beyond the goalkeeper at the second attempt from six yards out at the front post after seeing his initial effort off Cohen Ramsay's cross from the left blocked by a defender. The goals kept flowing and three minutes later, Ross Naismith got in on the act as he ran on to Urquhart's neat through pass and showed a cool head to stroke the ball under the advancing goalkeeper and into the net. Substitute Max Ewan then raced past a defender down the right and delivered a low cross that was fired wide of the target by fellow sub Matty Macleod at the front post. New Elgin pulled a goal back on 78 minutes when a clipped ball over the top was placed past sub goalkeeper, Ryan Macleod. But just a minute later, Nairn restored their six-goal lead. Ewan did well to pull down Ramsay's deep cross from the left inside the box and although his shot was blocked, substitute Dylan Mackenzie rammed home the loose ball from 10 yards. County could have added to their tally further four minutes from the end when Ewan's free kick was deflected into the path of Jack Maclean but he fired straight at the New Elgin goalkeeper. Nairn County – Foster (trialist) (R. Macleod 70), J. Maclean, C. Maclean, Urquhart (D. Mackenzie 75), A. Naismith, Ednie, R. Naismith (Ewan 66), S. MacDonald (trialist) (Munro 60), MacRae (M. Macleod 66), K. McKenzie, R. MacDonald (Ramsay 60). Subs unused :- Graeme Macleod

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