2 - 1
Ricky Wardrop (69)
Ryan Green (83)
Shaun Kerr (pen.) (75)
Scott Moore for Simon Allan (10)
Ricky Wardrop for David Calder (62)
Ian Penwright for Kevin Duguid (89)
Duncan Jones for Gregg Main (71)
Glenn Main for Willie Barron (83)
Billy Horne for Stephen Skinner (90)
Andrea Coletto (26)
Glenn Main (87)
Ronnie Wright (Referee)
A goal seven minutes from time condemned Nairn County to their fourth defeat in five games. The result means Les Fridge's side have picked up only one point since the start of November.
In a goalless first half, Forres Mechanics were slightly the better side but Nairn came out after the break looking to have a real go at their hosts. But it was Gordon Winton's men who got the goals despite County being the slightly better side after the turnaround.
Fridge made one enforced change in personnel to his line up, but it led to some wholesale positional tinkering. It was Brian Macleod who missed out because of a hamstring injury and Scott Graham who came in. The ex-Fort William man partnered Shaun Kerr in attack, while Lewis MacKinnon dropped into the centre of the defence. That meant Stephen Skinner was shifted to right back, Steven Edwards pushed on to the right hand side of midfielder while Willie Barron moved over to the left to fill the void vacated by Macleod's injury.
The first half offered very little in front of goal as both sets of players struggled to cope with the bobbly pitch. Forres looked the more threatening side with the towering Ryan Green in attack a constant thorn in County's side.
After the restart, Forres broke the deadlock when substitute Ricky Wardrop was on hand to head home. This seemed to shake County into the life and they were handed the chance to draw level when Lewis MacKinnon - who had been moved into attack - was fouled in the penalty area. Shaun Kerr did the rest from 12 yards but Nairn were hit with a sucker punch when Green nodded home the winner late on.
It was clear from the off that Forres would try to utilise Green's height in attack as much as possible. And this was supplement by burly defender Nathan Sharp coming forward to join the attack at every deadball opportunity. The duo caused County problems on five minutes when Kevin Collins's corner from the right was headed down to Hamish Munro. But his shot from on the penalty spot was deflected over the crossbar.
Scott Graham's pace saw him rescue a lost cause on the left as he prevented the ball from crossing the by-line. The livewire forward cut the ball back to Gregg Main who should have struck it first time, but wanted to work it onto his favoured right foot. The Nairn midfielder had been closed down by the time he managed that, resulting in him squaring the ball to Steven Edwards who saw his low shot held by Forres goalkeeper Stuart Knight.
The hosts were forced into an early change when Simon Allan had to come off injured only 10 minutes in. He was replaced by Scott Moore.
Forres threatened again after 14 minutes when a neat ball over the Nairn defence was volleyed goalwards by Kevin Duguid but his angled drive crashed into Callum Donaldson's side netting.
Green knocked down a high ball to sub Moore on 21 minutes but the Forres midfielder fired well over from 22 yards.
Nairn left back Andrea Coletto fed Main in the 25th minute. With his back to goal, the County midfielder took a decent first touch, turned his marker and hit a low shot goalwards. But his 22-yard effort was held by Knight.
County were back on the attack two minutes later when the ball sat up perfectly for Willie Barron 25 yards from goal on the right. The Nairn skipper tried his luck with an angled volley but his effort flashed over the bar with the help of a deflection.
Nairn took three second half minutes to register a goal attempt after the restart. But Main's 22-yard shot was well wide of Knight's goal.
Forres should have taken the lead on 51 minutes as Green was unmarked when a Collins corner came in from the left. But the former Buckie Thistle forward could only direct his header straight at the grateful Donaldson.
Green was handed another great opportunity to open the scoring seven minutes later when he was found by Duguid's cutback from the by-line on the right. But after turning his marker, the Forres number nine shot straight at Donaldson from 10 yards.
On the hour mark, the home side were afforded another free header from a corner. This time it was Sharp who was the recipient but the ex-Rothes man powered his effort from 10 yards over the bar.
County had a great chance to open the scoring six minutes later when Graham was unmarked at the front post to meet a Martin MacDonald cross from the right. But the former Fort William man couldn't get enough purchase on his effort as he glanced the ball into the arms of Knight.
Forres went up the other end of the park and the space opened up in front of Duguid on the right. The former Elgin City forward took full advantage to come inside and try to steer a low shot into the far corner of the net. But he was denied by Donaldson who tipped the ball past the post.
The hosts grabbed the opener on 69 minutes and it came from a predictable source. A hanging Collins free kick caused chaos in the Nairn box and when the visitors eventually got it cleared, the ball fell perfectly to the unmarked Moore. He cracked a powerful volley from 20 yards off the crossbar via Donaldson's fingertips. But Forres sub Ricky Wardrop was first to react as he steered the ball high into the net beyond the grounded Donaldson from a couple of yards.
This prompted Fridge to push MacKinnon up front while Duncan Jones came on for Main in midfield. And Nairn went close to grabbing an instant equaliser. A Jones cross in from the right was almost diverted home by Kerr, but the ball was missed by the Nairn striker. The linesman raised his flag for offside but referee Ronnie Wright allowed play to continue before Willie Barron steered the ball home from a tight angle at the far post. But Nairn's joy was short-lived as the referee went along with his linesman's original decision.
County were back on the attack on 74 minutes when Jones's low free kick from the right flashed across the goalmouth. But there were no takers to flick the ball home despite the best efforts of Kerr's and Mackinnon's out-stretched legs.
But one minute later, the visitors equaliser. MacKinnon pushed the ball past Fraser Bremner in the Forres box. The Mechanics midfielder slid in and chopped down the Nairn utility man. Referee Wright pointed to the spot and after the Forres protests had abated, Shaun Kerr stepped up to smash the ball home from 12 yards.
The goal handed Nairn the momentum and if there was going to be a winner, at this stage it looked as if it would be Fridge's side. But with Coletto walking a tightrope after a 26th-minute yellow card, Wardrop was allowed to skip away from the Nairn full back and race down the right on 83 minutes. He then fired a low shot goalwards that Donaldson managed to block with his legs. But as the ball looped into the air, Ryan Green was on hand to nod his side back in front despite the best efforts of the clambering Donaldson.
County were now looking to rescue a point in the same manner as they had last week at Clach. And they came close to drawing level again on 85 minutes. MacKinnon's cut back from the by-line on the right found Graham but he was closely marked by Milne. After being able to turn the Forres defender, the Nairn forward hit a low shot goalwards from 10 yards that was parried by Knight. The loose ball broke to sub Glenn Main. He played it back into the danger area and Forres defender Sharp appeared to come through Graham as he hammered it clear. But referee Wright waved away the Nairn appeals as Forres claimed all three points.
|Callum Donaldson (GK)||23||7||-||12||-|
|Billy Horne (sub)||18||18||1||18||1|
|Glenn Main (sub)||23||7||-||37||-|
|Duncan Jones (sub)||24||18||3||104||20|
No league table has been added for this season.