Written by Nairn County FC January 7th 2017

POOR decision-making in the final third was the root cause of Nairn County failing to take all three points from their trip to bottom club, Strathspey Thistle. That was the assessment of frustrated manager Ronnie Sharp, who saw his side create no fewer than 14 chances in the first half alone before watching that figure nudge towards 30 after the turnaround. But the visitors to Seafield Park only had two goals to show for it and with the hosts twice in front, it meant that it was a point apiece in this Dava Derby. Exasperated Sharp said: "We are really poor in the final third and that is what is preventing us from going up the league. It is week in, week out that it is happening." "The boys get a pat on the back when they have played well but narrowly lost when we play the top teams but to me, we are not unlucky – we are just not good enough at the skill of scoring goals and it is a skill. In fact, it is an art and we are not good at it." "We only gave Strathspey one or two chances throughout most of the game today and then another couple at the end but you can understand that because we were pushing to try and win it but we found ourselves in that situation all because of a lack of composure in the last third." James McShane lashed the home side in front at Seafield Park but Gary Kerr netted a quick-fire leveller for Nairn. Then, just after half time, Ryan Macleod rifled Strathspey back into the lead but this time it was Jordan Macrae who notched County's instant reply and that was how it finish. Sharp reflected: "We dominated all of the first half and found ourselves one goal down before we got our equaliser. I do not want to sound unkind to Strathspey but we could have been 6-1 up at half time with the chances we created." "Our finishing and our decision-making in the final third was not good enough and it has been the same all season. That is why we are not moving up the league and we keep doing it, so it is a major, major problem." He added: "Even in the second half, we had a chance inside 30 seconds and if we had scored that, it would have put us in the driving seat. But we are not getting ourselves into the driving seat in any games – we are chasing the game all of the time even though we have the best chances in games. And then we leave ourselves exposed to the counter attack because we are not able to put the ball in the net at the other end." "At the end, we relied on young Reece Barton to make a great clearance off the line and Dylan (Maclean) made a good save as well to keep us level, although we still had two chances right at the death ourselves." Sharp is calling on his attacking players to grab their chance to establish themselves as a first-pick in his line-up as the manager begins to think about next season. He stated: "It is not down to confidence, it is just poor decision-making. The players have to step up themselves and if they are not able to do it then we need to get boys in who can do it in the last third." "If you play at the back and you make a mistake then generally you lose a goal. But the boys up front miss one or two chances and people call it unlucky but it is not – it is down to poor finishing." "We must have made about 25 good chances today and scored just two goals. That is not acceptable." Graeme Macleod

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