Written by Nairn County FC October 21st 2017

VICTORY at Strathspey Thistle saw Nairn County return to winning ways but the 2-0 score line failed to tell the whole story on an afternoon when poor finishing prevented the visitors from racking up a barrowload. The home side almost opened the scoring with less than a minute on the clock. Kenny McKenzie's header off Ashley Ballam's long ball was less than convincing and went up on the air at the edge of the box. David Ross ran on to the dropping ball dipped a left-footed volley just over the crossbar. But County opened the scoring on six minutes. Jack Maclean picked out Cohen Ramsay on the left with a break cross-field pass. The wide man then drove towards the box before finding Jordan MacRae and the striker swivelled before blasting a rising drive into the roof of the net from 10 yards. Gary Kerr almost found the net for the first time this season when he collected the ball just inside the Strathspey half and showed great power to hold off two defenders before firing goalwards from the edge of the box but his effort was beaten away by Michael MacCallum in the Strathspey goal. MacCallum excelled again on 14 minutes when Kerr fed Dylan Mackenzie near the by-line on the right but his close range shot from a tight angle was repelled by the Strathspey goalkeeper's boot. The second goal arrived on 20 minutes. A superb clipped pass from the halfway line on the left touchline by MacRae tempted MacCallum off his line. Dylan Mackenzie got there first at the edge of the box though to touch the ball away from the Jags shot stopper before rolling it into the unguarded net from a tight angle on the left. A neat cushioned header by MacRae sent Mackenzie in on goal but his low, side-footed shot was blocked by MacCallum with Cohen Ramsay seeing the rebound deflected past the near post. Liam MacDonald then played a great through pass to send Kerr towards goal on the left but from a tight angle, he smashed into the side netting. Kerr's luck was out again on 41 minutes when the ball broke to him just inside the box and his first time blast took a slight deflection off a defender before being parried by the wrists of MacCallum. Strathspey took until the 48th minute to register a shot on target when Gavin Hay capitalised on a short Jack Maclean back pass but Dylan Maclean sprawled himself to deny to Jags striker. Nairn threatened at the other end on the hour-mark when MacRae picked out Kerr to the left of goal but his angled shot from 15 yards out was blocked by MacCallum's boot. The Jags goalkeeper was at it again on 64 minutes, this time using his knees to keep out a thunderous volley by MacRae from just inside the left-edge of the box. Nairn broke forward at pace on 67 minutes with Ross Naismith finding the run of MacRae and he lifted the ball up for Adam Naismith to float a volley over the crossbar from just inside the box. Maclean needed to be sharp to keep out Gavin Hay's drive after the Thistle striker had worked the space just inside the left-edge of the box. The goalkeeper again came out on top in his personal dual with Hay on 84 minutes when the forward saw a low free kick from the edge of the box go around the wall and into the arms of the Nairn number one. Strathspey Thistle – MacCallum, Donaldson, Ballam, Finnis, A. Hay, Lisle, McRitchie (Edwards 82), Mochan, Reid (Taylor 70), G. Hay (yellow 16), Ross. Subs unused: Wilson, McShane, Edwards, O'Brian. Nairn County – D. Maclean, J. Maclean, Ramsay, K. McKenzie, Glenn Main, Porritt, Urquhart (A. Naismith 66), L. MacDonald, Kerr, MacRae, D. Mackenzie (R. Naismith 61). Subs unused: Ednie, A. Naismith, Munro, M. Macleod, R. MacDonald. Foster (gk). Referee – David Watt. Graeme Macleod

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