RONNIE Sharp was satisfied with a share of the spoils from today’s home match against Clachnacuddin having seen his players battle out a 1-1 draw with the Lilywhites at Station Park.
Clach started well and Michael Finnis converted Daniel MacLennan’s low cross midway through the first half to put the visitors in front.
Jordan MacRae slammed home Dylan Mackenzie’s delivery at the other end to bring County back on terms on the stroke of half time.
Both sides had chances to win it after the break with Ryan MacDonald slicing wide for Nairn when well placed before Daniel MacLennan fired at Stephen Foster and Jaime Wilson stroked a MacLennan through ball off target from close range.
Dylan Mackenzie had a goal chalked off for offside and the striker was then denied by a Finnis goal line clearance with a MacLennan cross for Clach just needing a touch to turn it home in between times.
Callum Maclean also netted but was denied the glory with the referee judging Max Ewan had fouled the goalkeeper in the build-up before Cohen Ramsay could not stretch far enough to turn home Ewen Urquhart’s low cross from the left and then Adam Porritt could not quite sort his feet out quickly enough to turn a rebound home after the ball dropped to him in front of goal late on.
“It was a typical derby game,” exclaimed Sharp. “I thought that they were the better team in the first half and we were the better team in the second half.
“We probably created more clear-cut chances and had the ball in the net a couple of times in the second half and were maybe a bit unlucky not to see one of them stand. Overall, we have got to take the point and be happy with it.
“We were not at our best in the first half. We were disappointed with the way we started the game and it is was reminiscent to last year when we got away to a poor start in a lot of games and lost a lot of early goals. We have a bit of steel about us now and a bit of fight, which showed as we did well to come back into the game.”
MacRae’s goal came after MacDonald clipped the ball down the right touchline for Dylan Mackenzie to run on to and his low delivery was crashed into the roof of the net by his strike partner for his third notch of the season.
“It was an excellent goal,” said Sharp. “That gave us that bit of confidence going into the second half, when we played a lot better. We did not sit off it and closed down more. We played a bit more football but it is not our best performance overall so far this season. We knew it was going to be a hard game because Clach have been playing well even though they have not picked up the points they have deserved. We knew they were playing well, so we will take a point and move on as it keeps the momentum going.”
Both sides had chances to win it after the interval with County arguably having the better of them as they continued to push as the half wore.
Sharp added: “When you get chances, you have to take them and that is what the top teams do in this league. It is something we have to look to improve on.”
As well as those chances, Sharp’s men had the two disallowed goals with the manager disappointed not to have seen at least one of them stand.
He said: “I thought the second one did not look like a foul on the goalkeeper. The offside one, the linesman made the decision and we have to take it that Dylan was off.”
County took zero points from the subsequent fixtures against the same opposition they have faced so far this season, failing to take anything from trips to Forres and Buckie and visits from Deveronvale and Clach during the 2016/17 campaign.
Sharp’s men have now turned that around into a healthy return of seven points, to leave them in a mid-table position. The boss now wants to see his troops kick on and continue their positive showings.
“It is a good start for us,” he declared. “Before the season got underway, we knew it would be a real tough start. We went to Buckie and won there and that was a bonus but we knew that derby matches against Clach and Forres were going to be hard. Deveronvale also beat us here last season too. At the moment, it is just a start, so hopefully we can get more points over the next few games.”