THE under-20s were stung by a last-minute winner in their final pre-season friendly as Inverness Thistle triumphed at the Riverside.
Nairn went in search of an early opener when Matty Macleod raced to the by-line on the left and drew the goalkeeper before picking out Seamus McConaghy with a cut back but his shot was deflected wide.
Fresh from his heroics at Buckie on Saturday, Max Ewan twisted beyond two defenders as he advanced into the box from the left but his shot was beaten away by the goalkeeper at the near post.
McConaghy saw a powerful, low shot tipped away for a corner on 23 minutes before Ewan sent Macleod in on goal five minutes later but he was denied by a well-timed tackle from a back-tracking defender.
Callum Ednie then headed the best chance of the half over the crossbar on the half-hour. Craig Munro headed a Macleod corner from the left back across goal but from just a few yards out, Ednie directed the ball over the crossbar as the lowering sun appeared to effect is vision.
Seven minutes later, Joe Cuthbert guided a first time shot from 18 yards into the goalkeeper's arms before Thistle threatened at the other end with a powerful blast from the right edge of the box that flew just past the top corner on 40 minutes.
Ian Payne headed a Macleod cross from the left into the goalkeeper’s arms at the far post a minute before the break and then shortly after the restart, the County wide player met a corner from the left at the back post but could only steer the ball off target having seen it late after Munro attacked it in the middle.
Veteran striker Alan Kelly was causing the Nairn defence problems in the second half, using all of his experience and showing some neat touches when he was not being caught offside. And on 62 minutes, he found himself free 10 yards out at the far post but he was denied his chance to become a hero as his powerful blast was beaten away by Ryan Macleod in the Nairn goal.
Nairn continued to push for an opener and a minute from time, Munro sent a Sam Gordon free kick from the deep on the left back across goal with a looping header for Ednie to run on to but his header from close range was superbly tipped over the crossbar.
Thistle went up the park and won it in the final minute. An out-swinging cross from the right was met by the head of Paul Sangwin, who showed the most desire to get on the end of the delivery and reaped the rewards as he crashed the ball beyond Macleod and into the roof of the net.
Nairn County – R. Macleod, Cameron Maclean, Wheeler (J. W. Maclean 46), Ednie, Munro, Cuthbert (Fraser 46), Payne (Campbell 86), McConaghy (Gordon 46), Ewan (MacBean 68), M. Macleod (Geddes 68), Campbell (McDermott 64).