IAN Payne climbed off the bench at half-time to net the only goal of the game at Station Park as Nairn County under-20s claimed all three points against Lossiemouth.
The visitors were first to threaten but Ross Elliot’s header off a cross from the right dropped just over the crossbar.
Sean McWilliams was unmarked to meet a cross in from the left with a header at the far post on 16 minutes but he sent his effort wide.
The hosts should have opened the scoring on 23 minutes when good pressing by Cameron Maclean forced Lossiemouth into a short pass back to goalkeeper Trevor Dear. Ryan MacBean intercepted it to go clean through on goal but the Lossie custodian stood well to make the block.
A neat Elliot through pass put Baylee Campbell in on goal but his shot was kept out by Dylan Maclean’s legs on 29 minutes. Then, a minute later, the ball dropped to the unmarked Elliot in the penalty area but he sent his shot over the top.
Lossie should have found an opener on 38 minutes. Campbell raced down the right and lifted his head to find the unmarked Kevin Mackenzie but with time on his hands, he dragged his low shot past the far post from eight yards. Just a minute later, Elliot’s angled drive from the left was parried up and across goal by Dylan Maclean with Campbell’s follow-up at the far post blocked on the goal line by Craig McDermott.
County threatened five minutes into the second half with Eadie letting fly with a left-footed drive from 22 yards but the ball was touched over the crossbar by Dear.
Good link-up play between Campbell and Elliot presented the latter with a sight of goal on the hour-mark but his low shot was diverted wide by the legs of Dylan Maclean.
County made the breakthrough with a sweeping counter attack on 71 minutes. Cameron Maclean stepped out from defence to win a bouncing ball before feeding Ryan MacBean just inside the Nairn half. His excellent first touch allowed him to spin and race forward before slipping the ball to his right. Ian Payne ran on to it and blasted a rising shot beyond Dear and into the roof of the net from 16 yards.
The visitors almost found a leveller six minutes later with good skills down the left by substitute Jordan Clark opening up the space for the cross. His clipped delivery found the diving Campbell at the near post but his header was deflected over the bar.
Lossiemouth threw bodies forward in search of an equaliser but Nairn should have wrapped up the points in the final minute. Ciaran Young waltzed into the box from the right but his low shot across struck the inside of the far post.
Nairn County – D. Maclean, Davidson, McDermott (Robertson 64), Cameron Maclean, Campbell (Wheeler 73), Cuthbert (Cruden 46), McWilliams (Payne 46), Mitchell, Eadie, MacBean, Hallam (Young 64 (yellow 66)). Subs unused: -.
Lossiemouth – Dear, McCall (McAndrew 84), Davidson, Kelman, Kennedy (Allen 44), Leslie, McArthur, Campbell, Mackenzie, Ure, Elliot (Clark 72). Subs unused: Baird.
Referee – Harry Bruce.