Written by Nairn County FC November 15th 2020

The Reserves fought back from a goal down to remain top of the North Caledonian League Division 2 with a 5-1 success at Scourie but it was much harder work for our youngsters than the score line suggests. We went behind early on in our first ever visit to the north-west Highlands village but drew level before the break through Ciaran Young. A Kieran Duffty double in the first four minutes of the second half put us in control before Logan Hallam and Sam Gordon struck to put the outcome beyond doubt. Finnie said: "We all agreed we did not think we played anywhere near the high standards we have set so far this season, so we know we will need to improve and work on things at training this week. "It was a difficult pitch for both teams and was very hard to play any football on and I cannot be hard on the boys because they have come here and won 5-1. I must give credit to them for doing that while not playing well, so it shows we can grind it out but we know we need to play better. "Credit to Scourie as well for battling all the way. They have had some tough results but they are just getting on with it and I am sure when we play them again in two weeks’ time it will be tougher. "We move on to Golspie next week, which will be another tough challenge. It will be a step up for us with them being in the league above us and I am sure Sam (Mackay, Golspie player / manager) will bring some decent players in. He is a quality player himself, so it will be good for our boys to go up against him." Finnie handed a first start of the season to Callum Morrison as he came in for Liam Balfour in the only change to the team which won at Loch Ness last time out. Euan Logan was back on the bench. Nairn County Reserves – Gus Wilson, Callum Morrison, John Grant (Darren Mota 62), Scott Mutch, Nathan Grant (Louis Gordon 62), Logan Hallam (Euan Logan 62) Robbie Mackenzie, Sam Gordon (Kyle MacDonald 72), Kieran Duffty, Ciaran Young, Ryan Moodie (Liam Balfour 76). Subs unused: – Scourie – Robbie Hall, Kevin Johnston (yellow, 51, 68) (Nathan Corbett 68), James Flett, Jack Theakston, Donald Mackay (y 17), Clarke Hutchison, Mathew Hathaway (Szymon Klodzinski 46), Ally Mackenzie (Cameron Munro 79), Wilson Pirie, Jack Hatherall, Daniel Hutchison. We were denied an opener by the woodwork in just the second minute. Robbie Mackenzie's run to collect a short Sam Gordon corner kick was not tracked, allowing the wide man the time to turn and bend in a shot that came back off the far post. Duffty then saw a free kick deflect into the arms of Scourie goalkeeper Robbie Hall on eight minutes before the hosts went in front three minutes later. Clarke Hutchison's through pass caught the Nairn defence square and allowed Wilson Pirie to run in behind. He beat the out-rushing Gus Wilson to the ball before clipping his shot over the exposed Nairn goalkeeper. The visitors struggled to impose themselves but were level after 29 minutes. Top scorer Ciaran Young showed bravery to put his head in with on-running goalkeeper Hall, getting there just ahead of the Scourie number one 15 yards from goal, with the ball trickling over the line despite the best efforts of Jack Theakston to race back and clear. Gordon's shot in first half injury time from 22 yards was straight at Hall as the two sides went in level at the break. Whatever Finnie and his coaches said to their players during the interval made an instant impact as two goals in the first four minutes of the second half took us clear. The first came on 47 minutes with Gordon's deep corner to the far post being headed down by Duffty with the ball bouncing up and into the net. Then, two minutes later, Ryan Moodie's in-swinging free kick from the right was flicked over the head of Hall by the boot of Duffty to take him on to six goals for the season. Our best move of the day saw us add a fourth on the hour-mark. Morrison won a firm challenge in the box before making an incisive pass forward to set Young away on a counterattack. He played Duffty in on goal and although his shot was saved by Hall, the loose ball fell to the feet of Logan Hallam and he made no mistake as he drilled home his third goal of the season from 10 yards. Sam Gordon got off the mark for the season on 69 minutes. His effort from wide on the right drifted over the head of Hall and dropped into the net to make it five. Scourie defender Kevin Johnston was shown a second yellow card seconds after being substituted. The left back was cautioned for dissent on 51 minutes and was lucky to stay on the park for a late challenge on Sam Gordon. His luck ran out though as his words to referee Eddie Nichol after leaving the field saw the yellow card again flashed in his direction before the subsequent red. Substitute Euan Logan saw his low shot from the edge of the box tipped wide by Hall on 75 minutes before a slip by Liam Balfour three minutes later allowed Pirie to go in one-on-one with Wilson but the goalkeeper came out on top this time thanks to a splendid, sprawling save. Duffty was denied a hat-trick by the woodwork nine minutes from the end after he weaved past two challenges coming in from the left before shooting against the base of the post with the ball coming back off the foot of Hall and rolling wide. Scourie had the chance to reduce the deficit in the final minute of added time but Daniel Hutchison was on the stretch as he looked to reach a cross from the right at the far post and could only direct the ball wide of the target.

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