3 - 1
Lewis MacKinnon (27)
Craig MacMillan (73)
Scott Matheson (90)
Duncan Jones (21)
John Beaton & Brian Wright
Marco de Barros
Marco de Barros for Ryan Green (74)
Craig Campbell for Lewis MacKinnon (78)
Justin Rodgers for Michael Sanderson (82)
Martin MacDonald for Johnny Seaton (60)
Ryan Green (21)
Craig Campbell (86)
Willie Barron (83)
Nairn County's run of six wins in a row was ended at Forres' Mosset Park as the Mechanics gained a measure of revenge for their North of Scotland Cup Final defeat at the hands of Nairn in October.
It was a game in which County were on top for long spells and boss Les Fridge can feel hard done by for not seeing his side take something from the match.
He made three changes to the side that won at Fort William last week as youngster Wayne Mackintosh missed out after picking up an ankle injury in training last week. His place in the team was taken by Duncan Jones while John MacAskill and Brian Macleod both returned from suspension to take the places of John Mackay, who dropped to the bench, and the unavailable Andrew Allan.
Nairn were the sharper side from the off and deservedly took the lead through a Duncan Jones free-kick 21 minutes into the game. But the hosts levelled six minutes later and this swung the game in their favour as they finished the half on top. The game was balanced on a knife-edge after the break with both teams creating chances but it was Forres who got the all-important second goal 17 minutes from time. The Mechanics added a third with the last kick of the game to put a somewhat unfair slant on the score-line.
County's first sight of goal came seven minutes into this entertaining derby encounter as David MacRae teed up Iain Brooks. He struck a powerful shot from 25-yards that flashed just past home keeper Martin Rae's right hand post.
Nairn were back on the attack six minutes later as Tony Low surged past Hamish Munro down the left and his angled shot went over the head of Rae and had to be headed clear from the goal-line by ex-Nairn trialist Steven MacKay.
Jones then had the first shot on target of the match as he went close with a free-kick from 22-yards that was beaten away by Rae after 19 minutes.
A minute later, Willie Barron broke free down the right as Nairn counter-attacked but his shot from the right edge of the box was blocked by the legs of Rae.
The visitors grabbed the opening goal that their play deserved in the 21st minute though. Brooks was brought down by former Nairn striker Ryan Green on the edge of the Forres penalty box and Jones stepped up to lash home a thunderbolt of a strike to score his fifth goal in County colours.
The home side's response was quick as they levelled things in the 27th minute. Michael Sanderson's cross from the right was flighted perfectly for former Nairn loanee Lewis MacKinnon to head unopposed into the County net.
Forres went on to dominate for the remainder of the half and could have taken the lead when a Neil Whyte cross from the right missed everyone and went all the way through to Sanderson on the left. He whipped the ball back in and again it evaded everyone as the home side upped the pressure.
A misplaced pass by Willie Barron to John MacAskill a minute before half-time handed possession to the hosts' Craig MacMillan who let fly from 20-yards but his effort was well held by Jim Calder.
Calder had to be alert to keep Nairn level five minutes after the restart. A Sanderson corner from the left found Graeme Grant at the edge of the box and he hooked the ball goalwards only to see it tipped over the crossbar by the County custodian.
MacRae went close to putting Nairn back in front after 65 minutes as he controlled a Scott Kellacher free-kick from the right and unleashed a shot from 15-yards that was held by former Clach shotstopper Rae.
County's best chance of the half came barely 60 seconds later as Low scampered down the left wing and whipped in a measured cross to the back post where the onrushing Brooks could only find the side netting with his header.
The hosts went in front for the first time in the match after 73 minutes as a County clearance could only find Whyte on the right. He crossed the ball back into the box where the unmarked MacMillan was on hand to head home.
Nairn had one final chance to pull themselves level five minutes from the end as substitute Martin MacDonald was put through on goal but he opted to pull the trigger early and snatched at his shot sending it wide of the post.
Forres rounded off the scoring in injury time as MacMillan's cross from the right evaded Calder and landed at the feet of Scott Matheson. He smashed it goalwards but Martin Sanderson did well to clear from the goal-line. Unfortunately the ball then landed at the feet of substitute Marco De Barros who had the simplest of tasks of stroking into the empty net.
Nairn can count themselves unlucky not to have taken something from this match as their fine winning run was brought to a halt and Les Fridge now has to ensure that confidence remains high going into next week's important clash with Clach at Station Park.
|Jim Calder (GK)||45||15||-||44||-|
|Martin MacDonald (sub)||23||20||5||20||5|
No league table has been added for this season.