POOR defensive mistakes cost Nairn County dearly as Inverurie Locos hung on for three points at Station Park.
County played into the strong wind for the first half and with a minute on the clock, Locos centre half Ryan Broadhurst thumped one goalwards from 35 yards but Dylan Maclean was equal to it as he clutched the defender’s drive.
Nairn thought they had opened the scoring on eight minutes. A Ross Naismith corner from the left dropped to Adam Porritt and his drive was chested by a defender on the line, with goalkeeper Andy Reid clutching the ball amidst the scramble that followed.
From there, Inverurie found the net in bizarre circumstances. Andy Reid kicked the ball out from hand with the wind carrying it through to the Nairn goal only for Maclean to misjudge the bounce and see the ball bounce into the net.
Maclean was almost caught out again five minutes later. This time it was Neil McLean with an in-swinging free kick from out on the left just inside the Nairn half that that the goalkeeper came out for and was only just able to touch wide.
It got worse for Nairn on 14 minutes though. Neil McLean spun Glenn Main inside the box on the left and blasted beyond Dylan Maclean at the goalkeeper’s near post.
County looked to for a way back into the game with Adam Porritt firing a 22-yard free kick over the crossbar before Gary Kerr thumped a header past the near post on the half-hour mark after connecting with Ross Naismith’s out-swinging free kick from the right.
The home side managed to half the deficit on 37 minutes. Ross Naismith’s free kick from on the left touchline was only half cleared, allowing Cohen Ramsay to head the ball back into the danger area. Gary Kerr pulled it down to the left of goal before spinning and blasting across Reid and into the far corner to open his account for the season.
A stunning double save from Reid kept Inverurie in front two minutes before the break. Dylan Mackenzie cut in from the left and drew a fining diving save out of the Locos number one before Ross Naismith blasted the rebound goalwards only to be denied by Reid, with Jack Maclean and Kerr getting in each other’s way as they attempted to force the ball home.
Nairn started the second half positively and on 47 minutes, a Kenny McKenzie corner kick from the right dropped to Jack Maclean in front of goal but he could not quite scramble the ball home with Locos clearing off the line.
But Inverurie made the points safe when they added a third on 59 minutes. County’s defence was left exposed as the Locos broke forward and Joe McCabe in behind the Nairn backline just inside the home side’s half. He raced in on goal before poking the ball beyond the advancing Maclean.
Nairn pulled a goal back from the penalty spot on 79 minutes. A handball in the box by Greg Mitchell off a throw-in from the right led referee Ben Dempster to point to the spot and Jordan MacRae sent Andy Reid the wrong way from 12 yards.
Nairn County – D. Maclean, J. Maclean, Ramsay, K. McKenzie, Glenn Main, Porritt (yellow 77), R. Naismith (Ednie 80), R. MacDonald (y 84), Kerr, MacRae (y 78), D. Mackenzie. Subs unused: M. Macleod, Cameron Maclean, Cuthbert, Foster (gk).
Inverurie Locos – Reid, Rennie, Mitchell, Duff (yellow 73), Souter (y 81), Broadhurst, McCabe (y 67), McLean, Hunter, Laing, Leyden (Charlesworth 61) (Gauld 85). Subs unused: Crisp, McDonald, Gordon, Mathieson (gk).
Referee – Ben Dempster.
Pictures: Donald Matheson