1 - 3
|Darren Duncan (87)||
Willie Barron (25)
Shaun Kerr (39)
Shaun Kerr (66)
Leon Lopez for Norman McLean (76)
Darren Quigg fo Chris Drain (83)
Johnathan Cooper for Mark Gillespie (85)
Gregg Main for Shaun Kerr (80)
Chris Finnigan for Willie Barron (88)
Mark Gillespie (55)
Norman McLean (70)
Martin MacDonald (19)
John Campbell (19)
Martin Sanderson (51)
Martin MacDonald (51)
Two first half goals put Nairn County in control of this fixture before the break and they then went on to record an opening day win as they defeated Fort William at Claggan Park. The victory puts the Station Park men third in the table after day one of the Highland League campaign.
It was a first ever win on the opening day for manager Les Fridge, who named the same starting eleven that defeated Forres Mechanics at home in the North Cup on Tuesday night. The only change was among the substitutes as Glenn Main missed out due to a prior commitment and was replaced by Marc MacDonald.
Duncan Jones ran the show in the middle of the park from the off, with the former Aberdeen man at the heart of everything positive that Nairn did in the opening stages and it was from his corner on the right that the first chance of the game came from. His fourth minute delivery picked out Martin MacDonald but the Nairn defender's header from 15-yards flashed over the crossbar.
Five minutes later, Jones lined up to take a free kick from 25-yards and his low effort was palmed around the post by home goalkeeper Mark MacDonald who dived low to his right.
County almost broke the deadlock after a great counter attacking move on the quarter hour mark. The sweeping move began with Darren Jarvie on the edge of his own box and he moved the ball quickly to Wanye Mackintosh in midfield. The County number six then showed great vision to pick out Jones who in turn found Willie Barron. He then put Shaun Kerr through on goal but the County striker was blocked by a low safe from MacDonald.
Martin MacDonald and John Campbell then both collected yellow cards in the 19th minute after an off the ball incident before Nairn got their noses in front six minutes later. Brian Macleod's long throw in from the right was spilled by the goalkeeper under pressure from Barron. The ball then broke back at Macleod's feet and his rasping drive from 22-yards was going wide of the post until Barron stuck out a leg to divert it past the goalkeeper from close range to open his side's account for the season.
Jones almost added a Nairn second on the half hour mark when he drove forward from the middle of the park and saw a 20-yard shot held before his corner three minutes later was met by a front post header from Barron that flashed over the crossbar.
Jones' delivery from a corner on the right was again a fruitful source for County in the 37th minute when he picked out the unmarked Martin Sanderson in the box but the County centre back's volley was blocked by goalkeeper MacDonald.
County added a second goal six minutes before the break to put them firmly in control of the proceedings. Mackintosh collected a pass inside from Jarvie on the left and he then played a great through ball into the path of Kerr that split the Fort defence. The former Ross County man took one touch before slotting an angled drive past the goalkeeper from just inside the penalty area on the left.
The home side came out after the restart with renewed vigour as they fought to get back into the match and almost halved the deficit two minutes into the half. Neil McLean cut in from the right and saw his low shot blocked by the alert Campbell who had raced from his line to the edge of the box.
Nairn were reduced to ten men after 51 minutes when Martin MacDonald was shown a second yellow card for apparently speaking out of turn to the referee. The match then went through a niggly spell as tackles flew in that the man in the middle failed to clamp down on and almost lost control of things.
The visitors should have been awarded a penalty when Kerr was scythed down in the box by home defender Andrew Martin but incredibly the referee awarded a a free kick on the edge of the box instead of pointing to the spot.
The home side failed to take full advantage of their extra man and Nairn made them pay by adding a third goal after 66 minutes. Macleod whipped in a corner from the left that was headed against the crossbar by Stephen Skinner at the back post. His effort dropped to Kerr who bravely stooped to header the ball over the line from a couple of yards to score his fourth goal in the last two games for County.
Nairn defended stoutly despite being a man down and contained their hosts to a flurry of half chances before they managed to pull a goal back three minutes before time. Johnathan Hewitt's free kick from the left was headed clear by the Nairn defence but only as far as Darren Duncan and his half volley from 15-yards flew into Campbell's bottom left hand corner.
There was still time for County to almost restore their three-goal lead. Subsitute Chris Finnigan won a free kick wide on the left and fellow substitute Gregg Main saw his curling effort crash off the back post before being cleared to safety.
|John Campbell (GK)||27||2||-||51||-|
|Gregg Main (sub)||20||2||-||15||1|
|Chris Finnigan (sub)||21||1||-||1||-|
No league table has been added for this season.