4 - 0
4 - 0
Martin MacDonald (12)
Chris Finnigan (27)
Danny MacIntosh (o.g.) (55)
Duncan Jones (85)
Andrea Coletto for Brian Macleod (46)
Shaun Kerr for Chris Finnigan (68)
Jonathan Holland for Wayne Mackintosh (89)
John Cumming for Neil Cameron (53)
Martin MacDonald for Willie Hendry (72)
John Bamber for Sean Ellis (81)
A three month winless run came to an end for Nairn County at Station Park as they dumped bottom-of-the-table Fort William to pick up their first three points since the first Saturday in December. Indeed, the County faithful had waited even longer to see their side win on home soil with the last victory at Station Park coming way back in October when Forres Mechanics were the visitors on league duty.
It could have been a lot worse for the Lochaber outfit if it was not for Nairn's reluctance and wastefulness in front of goal as they dominated possession and kept the ball in the Fort half for the majority of the 90 minutes. But Les Fridge will be glad just to get that winning feeling again.
The manager had the rare luxury of being able to name the exact same 16 players as Saturday's defeat to Cove as Duncan Jones shook off the knock he took in that game to take his place in the defence. And he set Nairn on their way to victory as he set up Martin MacDonald to open the scoring before Chris Finnigan added a second before the break. An own goal from Fort defender Danny MacIntosh in the second half all but sealed the points before that man Jones rattled home a free kick late on.
The visitors made a bright start as Nairn eased themselves into the game and had the first shot on target of the match after 10 minutes. It turned out to be Fort's only shot on target as William Ford was given the time and space in the middle of the park to fire goalwards from 25 yards but his effort was easily saved by John Campbell in the County goal.
The hosts broke the deadlock two minutes later though when Jones swung in a free kick from the right towards the front post. Martin MacDonald made a charging run across his marker and rose highest in the box to get on the end of the delivery to bullet a header past rooted Fort goalkeeper Ritchie Munro and into the net from six yards out.
County almost doubled their advantage less than a minute later when Chris Finnigan darted down the right and sent in a low cross that Scott Graham stretched to get on the end of but he could only divert the ball over the crossbar from six yards.
Munro then denied Nairn in the 18th minute when he made an instinctive save from a close range Martin Sanderson header after the County defender had been picked out by MacDonald's knock down from a Gregg Main corner.
The home side had their second of the evening in the 27th minute though when Willie Barron whipped in a left-footed cross from the right. Finnigan ghosted in at the back post to meet the delivery with a diving header that he sent back across Munro and into the inside of the side netting to score his first home goal for Nairn.
And he could have had a second seven minutes later when a mix up between Fort defenders Lorn Mackay and Lee Morrison meant a Jones long ball forward was unattended. Finnigan nipped in between the two to stab the ball over the advancing Munro could the ball would not drop early enough for the County forward as his shot landed on the roof of the net.
Nairn midfielder Wayne Mackintosh was then denied by Munro five minutes before half time after he was slipped in on the right channel by a Barron through ball but his angled drive from 10 yards was blocked by the alert Fort shotstopper, who had raced from his goal line to narrow the angle.
Graham was next to pass up a goalscoring chance for Nairn in the 43rd minute when the ball broke to him after a scramble in the box. From only a couple of yards out to the right of goal, his somewhat sclaffed shot drifted across goal and beyond the far post as he failed to hit the target.
Fridge was forced into a half time change as he withdrew the injured Brian Macleod - who picked up a bad knock in the first half - and replaced him with Andrea Coletto in a straight swap.
The home side were immediately on the attack when Barron delivered an inviting ball into the box that the unmarked Graham sent wide of the box with an overhead kick when he might have had more success if he had attempted a header.
Barron had a go himself with a low drive from 22 yards that was held by Munro in the 50th minute before Gary Black picked the pocket of Ryan Haggerty and flashed a shot wide of the post from a similar distance two minutes later.
County's third goal duly arrived after 55 minutes when Barron sent Graham racing down the left. Upon reaching the by-line, the County forward clipped the ball across goal but unfortunate Fort defender Danny MacIntosh sent it into his own net at the near post as Gregg Main waited in the middle for a tap in.
Nairn took their foot off the gas with the result all but beyond doubt and a flurry of corners and inviting balls across the face of goal failed to yield any goalscoring action. But they came close to adding a fourth after 74 minutes when Gary Black's free kick into the box from the left was knocked down by Graham to Barron but he stabbed his shot over the bar from eight yards out on the left.
Two minutes later, Main's corner from the left was met by a front post flick from Sanderson but his header was cleared from the goal line by the well-positioned Lorn Mackay at the back post.
Mackintosh went close again for the hosts in the 78th minute but his shot from 22 yards was deflected over the bar for a corner. From the resulting flag kick, Main picked out Mackintosh, who was lurking unmarked outside the box. The Nairn midfielder controlled the ball before powering a volley goalwards from 25 yards that whistled just over Munro's crossbar.
Nairn were almost punished for some slack defending at the other end as MacDonald's misplaced pass went straight to Fort man Michael Ellis. He tried his luck with a shot from 25 yards that had Campbell back peddling but bounced off the crossbar before being clear.
County were back on the attack again in the 84th minute when Main's low cut back from the right found unmarked substitute Shaun Kerr 10 yards from goal. He drilled a low, first time shot towards the back post but was denied by a smart diving save from Munro who got down well to keep out Nairn's top goal scorer.
The scoring was completed five minutes from the end as Nairn rounded off their win. Jones lined up a free kick from fully 30 yards out and fired it low towards the keeper's bottom right hand corner. Munro got down well and was about to parry the ball wide but it kicked up off the surface and past the helpless goalkeeper into the net.
|John Campbell (GK)||28||27||-||76||-|
|Jonathan Holland (sub)||29||5||-||5||-|
|Andrea Coletto (sub)||24||3||-||9||-|
|Shaun Kerr (sub)||21||25||11||25||11|
No league table has been added for this season.