INVERURIE Locos moved to within four points of second-placed Nairn with a superb 2-1 victory at Station Park on Saturday, ending County’s run of six matches without defeat and hopefully starting up a new long winning run of their own.
The Wee County, fresh from their thumping win at Keith looked sharp early on and created three early openings.
Allan Pollock picked the ball up on the right and fired a right footed shot into the side netting as he looked to mark his home debut with a third minute goal.
In the 17th minute Daniel Moore’s deep cross was met by Stuart Leslie but his header landed on the roof of the net.
Locos had been largely on the backfoot and struggling to get a foothold in the game but a David Ross knock on to Neil Gauld saw the wee man cut in from the right hand side to strike a fine effort which Callum Donaldson dealt with well.
On 20 minutes Nairn were back on the attack with Macphee firing over the top. He then struck a curling effort goalwards but Andy Reid dived acrobatically and carefully to clutch the ball at his right as it headed towards the net.
A Neil McLean volley into the ground was knocked on and the ball fell in front of goal for Scott Begg, who didn’t connect well enough to turn it past Callum Donaldson. The breakthrough came on the half hour with Neil GAULD diverting the ball into the corner of the net as a set piece delivery caused problems for County after possession had been given away.
A minute before half time Scott Begg fed the ball through to David Ross on the run and his left footed low effort just drifted inches past Donaldson’s right hand post
The second half started in a similar vein to the first with Nairn County clearly in the ascendancy but the Red and Black rearguard standing firm. The Wee County should have levelled in the 57th minute when Stuart Leslie turned and struck a shot that Andy Reid could only parry. It spun out into the centre of the penalty area where Robbie Duncanson was running in but he completely sliced his shot sending the ball sideways with the keeper unable to react
Locos were looking lively in attack and a McLean and Gauld passing interaction lead to Scott Begg being set up 16 yards out but he sidefooted the ball high over the bar when the net should have bulged.
MacPhee was denied by Andy Reid but despite Nairn doing most of the pressing it was the Locos who grabbed a second.
Hard work in the wide area eventually saw the ball smuggled into the feet of Neil MCLEAN who jinked past three players on the byeline before cutting back into the box and drilling a low, angled 14 yard drive across Donaldson and into the corner of the net.
With just eight minutes left Nairn went for it, pushing Michael Morrison up top. They did manage to grab a goal back in 87 minutes with Pollock forcing the ball to Stuart LESLIE who managed to dink the ball into the corner of the net.
It seemed they may have levelled in the final mintue when MacPhee’s in-swinging corner kick was turned into the net by the combination of Martin Macdonald and Andy Reid as they leapt for it at the far post but referee Ryan Milne blew loudly to signal a foul on the keeper to the frustration of the home side.
In the end Locos saw the game out to record an important victory that keeps them upwardly mobile and with Buckie Thistle their opponents at Harlaw Park at 3pm on Saturday, an excellent chance to get revenge for that damaging defeat at the Viccy back in September.
Nairn County: Donaldson, MacDonald Webb, Morrison, Naismith, Gregg Main, Pollock, Moore, MacPhee, Leslie, Duncanson (Cameron 84 )
Subs: MacCallum, R Naismith, Glenn Main Cameron, Ellis.
Inverurie Locos Reid, McLean Broadhurst, Begg, Adams, Anderson, Leyden, Maitland, Gauld, Souter, Ross (Donaldson 85)
Subs Not Used: Mitchell, Bavidge, Young, Mathieson
Referee: R Milne