INVERURIE Locos accrued a vital full set of points at Nairn County on Saturday to keep their Championship hopes alive. Goals in the first and last minutes from captain Clark Bain and a Craig Ross strike secured the win for the Garioch men with Connor Gethins countering for the Wee County in a very entertaining match.
The visitors got off to a dream start, taking the lead with their first effort on goal in just 23 seconds. Clark Bain unleashed a drive from 30 yards which flew past Callum Donaldson into the net via the upright.
The hosts also scored with their first attempt on goal ten minutes later. A defensive mix-up involving new keeper Stewart Gray and defender Neil McLean presented an opportunity for the ever-alert Connor Gethins to take full advantage, rounding Gray and calmly slotting the ball into the empty net.
However, the parity was only to last a further ten minutes as the visitors regained the initiative. Neil Gauld picked out the unmarked Craig Ross with an angled pass and the veteran striker made no mistake, striking across Donaldson into the far corner.
In 24 minutes, Connor Gethins almost equalised for a second time when his powerful drive appeared goal-bound only for a timely intervention from Kieran Adams to deflect the ball for a corner. Two minutes prior to the interval, Locos almost extended their advantage, Jamie Michie curling a free kick from the edge of the area inches wide.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first with Locos straight on the offensive. McLean cut a dangerous ball into the danger area from the bye-line but thankfully for the hosts, ex Loco Mo Morrison was well-positioned to thwart the danger.
Moments later at the other end, a Gregg Main 20-yard thunderbolt was well held by Gray. Then keeper Donaldson was stung into action, diving low to his left to repel Ross’ downward header from close range.
On the hour mark, Ryan Broadhurst looked to have scored only for Robbie Duncanson to clear his effort off the goal-line. On 68 minutes, a fabulous run from Locos’ McLean, during which he skipped past four opponents, culminated in Donaldson pushing his effort round the post for a corner.
Near the end substitute Nicky Gordon fired an effort off the post. Then only a magnificent save from Gray prevented the Wee County from a late equaliser. Duncanson’s cross to the far post was met by the head of Martin McDonald and Gray expertly parried his looping effort with Broadhurst clearing the loose ball to safety.
Clark Bain had the opening say in this match and he was to also have the final say 90 minutes later when he sealed the points. From his free kick on the edge of the area, the ball deflected off the Nairn wall and spun past the helpless Donaldson into the net.
A delighted Locos co-boss Scott Buchan said, “Clarky Bain took his goals at either end of the game, 20 to 25 yards out is nosebleed distance for him normally. They were two crackers, the first in the opening seconds, the second deflected off their wall
“Stewart Gray in his first game back did not have much to do but it was a bit of a blunder between Neil McLean and him for the goal, but he did well, he’s not trained for weeks
“If we’ve played 4-5-1 it’s up to other teams to break us down and beat us. This system we play is one we won’t play all the time but it worked. Nairn play a certain way, we had reports on them. Our performance was pleasing to see, the performance was phenomenal
“With regards to other games at the weekend , Forres should now win the League but what I will say is that whoever wins it will have deserved it. As for us it is a tough run of games, we’ve got the better of Keith and Nairn but now after Fraserburgh away on Wednesday night we have Wick on Saturday and who knows, we may change the formation again too suit “
Nairn County: Donaldson, Macleod, MacDonald, Mackintosh, Gregg Main, Gethins, Mackay (C MacMillan 78), Morrison, Duncanson, Glenn Main, Cameron (Watson 55)
Subs: Hind, Naismith, Ridgers
Inverurie Locos: Gray, Michie, McLean, Bain, Adams, Broadhurst, Ross, Stewart, Gauld (Gordon 70), Begg, Maitland
Subs: Park, Low, Wilson, Strachan
Referee: T Shaw
Wick Academy visit Harlaw Park this Saturday in the first of back to back Saturday meetings. Kick off is at 3pm