3 - 2
Mark McDougall (26)
Graham Stewart (35)
Graham Stewart (62)
Scott Kellacher (18)
Lewis Mackinnon (80)
Gary Farquhar for Steve Sanderson (51)
Johnny Seaton for Neal Sinclair (56)
Colin MacLeod for David MacRae (67)
A new era for Nairn County begun with an away defeat at Fort William as the side failed to get off to the winning start to the season that everyone associated with the club had craved.
New gaffer Les Fridge was without the services of Garry Ewing, Willie Barron and new boy Peter Lynch but handed debuts to summer signings John MacAskill and Mark Smith while last gasp loan captures Lewis MacKinnon and David Macrae also started. Fellow summer additions Gavin Chisholm and goalkeeper Jim Calder had the settle for a place amongst the substitutes.
It was debutant MacKinnon who went closest to breaking the deadlock early on when he connected with a Sinclair corner from the right with a glancing header that went inches past the keeper's left hand upright after five minutes.
Fort then returned fire seven minutes later when Jamie Gannon curled a free kick from 22 yards just past the post.
County did open the scoring though after 18 minutes when a quick David Macrae free kick set Scott Kellacher free on the right and the Nairn forward fired in a low angled drive across the keeper that nestled in the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Fort's Norman McLean was inches away from restoring parity on the 25 minute mark when an in-swinging Gannon cross from the right flashed just past the boot of the Fort number nine.
But a Mark McDougall wonder goal a minute after the half-hour did square things when he turned in from the right before controlling the ball on his chest and lashing a volley into the top right hand corner from 25 yards.
Nine minutes later and the hosts were in front when Chris Drain drove down the right wing before cutting in and squaring the ball for Graham Stewart to screw home from 15 yards.
County really should've been back on level terms a minute later though when Brian Macleod's through-ball found Neal Sinclair in acres of space in front of goal but the midfielder snatched at his shot and sent it wide of the post.
The home side nearly made it three on two occasions just before the interval. Firstly, McDougall cut the ball back for Drain whose shot from 15 yards was deflected past the post then a McLean volley from 25 yards out dipped just over Michael Rae's crossbar.
Nairn had a great opportunity to level matters just ten seconds into the second half when a thrusting Iain Brooks run caught the home defence napping but keeper John Campbell was on his toes to thwart the bustling hitman.
Then McDougall went close again to grabbing his second of the day as his looping header was cleared from the goal-line by Nairn's Steven Edwards.
County were again agonisingly denied an equaliser on the hour mark when Scott Kellacher rounded the keeper and squared the ball for Brian Macleod but the County wideman was crowded out by three Fort defenders and could only direct his effort past the post.
A counter attack by the home side on 62 minutes resulted in daylight being put between the two sides for the first time in the match. McDougall surged down the right hand side before squaring the ball across goal for Graham Stewart to slam home at the back post for his second goal of the day.
Les Fridge threw defender Lewis MacKinnon into attack to try and add a physical presence to County's forward play in a bid to snatch something from the game.
Brian Macleod tried to claw Nairn back into the match ten minutes later but he saw his low curling effort from the edge of the box saved by Campbell.
Nairn did get something back though ten minutes from time when a corner from the left by sub Johnny Seaton was met in the air by a towering free header from Lewis MacKinnon as he broke his County duck on his debut for the club.
MacKinnon had a great chance to get Nairn back level five minutes later but his shot from close range was scrambled off the line by the dogged Fort defence before Iain Brooks saw his thunderous follow up effort blocked.
On-loan Caley man McKinnon was again at the heart of the Nairn attack deep into injury time when a Farquhar free kick from the right fell to him at the back post but he couldn't get his shot in due to being crowded out by the home side's players.
The match ended in controversial fashion though as a Seaton corner from the left was headed into the net by MacKinnon but the referee had started to blow for full-time before the Nairn goalscorer had made contact with the ball therefore the goal never stood to the fury of the Nairn players as Fort escaped with the victory.
County will be hoping to get on track next week when they host Wick Academy at Station Park before going into a crucial double header with Fraserburgh the following two weeks.
|Michael Rae (GK)||-||1||-||57||-|
|Gary Farquhar (sub)||-||1||-||74||30|
|Colin MacLeod (sub)||30||1||-||57||-|
|Johnny Seaton (sub)||-||1||-||41||1|
No league table has been added for this season.