• Inverness Ath
    1 - 3
    Nairn Res 
    Saturday, October 17th, 2020
    Pavilion Park, Muir of Ord
    2:00 PM Kick-off
    Match Report [Switch to Match Details]
    Inverness Athletic kicked off the new North Caledonian Ness Cup League season with a dismal home defeat at the hands of Nairn County reserves.

    In what was favourable conditions for an October afternoon in the Highlands, both sides started the game reasonably well, with neither side really asserting any real dominance, as both sides too time to settle back into competitive football.

    It would be the visitors who would eventually settle into the game first. Ryan Macleod in the Inverness goal was called into action twice in the space of 5 minutes, with Nairn having two well hit strikes from the edge of the box, with the second being brilliantly turned round the post by Macleod. This was a warning sign of things to come.

    With 26 minutes gone the visitors were in front. A long kick from Gus Wilson in the Nairn goal eventually found its way wide to Lewis Mitchell, who in turn picked out Ciaran Young with a cut back from the right. Young twisted past the home defence to open the goal and then smashed a strike high into the roof of the net.

    Nairn continued to dominate after the opening goal as Inverness struggled to get any kind of foothold in the game. The home sides afternoon would go from bad to worse 10 minutes later when Nairn would double their lead.

    Lewis Mitchell with another delivery from the right which would flash across the Athletic goal and find Young all alone at the back post to tap it in for 3 yards.

    Inverness started to grow into the game after their awful start and began to play more football and pile pressure onto the visiting defence. A couple of free kicks from just outside the box tested Wilson in the Nairn goal, with Jack Wardrop’s strike being well turned round for a corner.

    Athletic finally had the ball in the net from that resulting corner, but the referee would blow his whistle for an apparent foul on the keeper, much to the frustration of the home bench.

    Half time – Inverness Ath 0-2 Nairn County

    Manager Jason Golabek made a couple of changes at half time, as he looked to drag his side back into this game, with Harry Shewan and Luke Mackay replacing Lewis Smith and Finlay Macleod.

    The changes seem to settle Athletic, who began the second half a lot better than they did the first, but it would still be Nairn who would have the first chance of the second half. Ryan Macleod once again having to tip a strike round the post.

    Just after the hour mark Athletic finally managed to half the deficit. A neat ball through the Nairn defence found Luke Mackay who settled himself and hit a great strike, only to see it come off the post and rebound to Gary Calvert, who was only on the pitch 2 minutes, to tap it in.

    That goal definitely lifted the home side, who were now piling on more and more pressure in search of an equaliser. Golabek’s side would have several corners and strikes from the edge of the box but could simply not find a way past the Nairn rear guard, with a Jack Wardrop free kick once again brilliantly turn round the post by Wilson in the Nairn goal.

    Athletics’ lack of cutting edge in the final third would tell with 7 minutes left to play, as Nairn would strike again on the counter attack. Lewis Mitchell played in Kieran Duffty, who turned on to his left foot and shot across goal from the right edge of the box. His effort was only parried by Macleod, with Young on hand to knock the ball home and complete his hat-trick and all but secure the three points for Stuart Finnie’s side.

    There would be late drama as Inverness had another goal disallowed as Luke Mackay found the net, but he was adjudged to have strayed offside.
    All in all, a disappointing afternoon for Jason Golabek’s side but credit to Nairn County who thoroughly deserved the win.

    Full time – Inverness Ath 1-3 Nairn County

    The Manager spoke to us after the game, “Not really sure where to start with that game. We were awful in the first half and only slightly better in the second. Throughout the whole of pre season when we have been up against good Highland League sides and we never played as bad as we did today. Credit to Stuart and his team, they were hungry, well organised, and basically wanted it a lot more than our lads did. We will get the boys into training this week and try and pick the bones of what was a terrible day at the office for us and get them prepared for next weekend.”