Athletic kick off pre-season this week with a hard fought win over Nairn County Colts in scorching temperatures at Bught Park.
With the North Caledonian League starting in just over four weeks’ time, this was a fantastic opportunity for Shane Carling and his side to get minutes in their legs against a side who always work hard and give Inverness a stern test.
It would be Athletic who would start the game the stronger and were in front on eight minutes when a clipped cross from the by-line on the left was headed home by Ryan Ingram at the near post.
Nairn’s young guns found a deserved leveller on 38 minutes. Logan Hallam picked out Tyler Eadie’s run to towards the near post with the young attacker controlling the pass and turning 360 to get the ball on his right foot before lashing a deflected effort beyond Ryan Macleod in the Inverness goal.
The goal seemed to wake Inverness up as they began to reassert their authority on the game and were unfortunate not to re-establish their lead, but the two sides went in level at the interval.
Half Time – Inverness Athletic 1-1 Nairn County U20s
It would be Nairn who would start the second half the stronger. Eadie sprung the offside trap and advanced towards goal before confidently slotting the ball beyond Macleod.
In what was turning into an end to end start to the second half, Inverness drew level on 54 minutes. Michal Zaleski dusted himself off to slot home a penalty after he had been fouled in the box by Duncan Robertson.
Athletic went back in front 11 minutes later. Ryan Ingram delightfully lifting the ball over the advancing Gus Wilson in the visitor’s goal to notch up his second goal of the night.
Both goalkeepers then excelled with Ryan Macleod keeping out a Ryan MacDonald piledriver from close range after Inverness had failed to deal with a Nairn corner kick before Wilson showed great reactions at the other end to repel an Inverness header from close range.
Nairn were awarded a way back into the game 10 minutes from time when Ryan Moodie was upended in the home box after some neat footwork. Angus Davidson stepped up to take the penalty for the visitors but was denied by a cracking save from Macleod in the Inverness goal.
That penalty miss would prove costly as Inverness put daylight between the sides five minutes from time through Trialist’s tidy near post finish off a delivery from the right.
Glenn Main netted a conciliation goal in the dying minutes of the game, but it was too little too late for Nairn as Athletic held on to start pre season with a win.
Full Time – Inverness Athletic 4-3 Nairn County U20s
Shane Carlings side are back in pre season action on Saturday 3rd August as they welcome Oban Saints to the Inverness Royal Academy for a 1pm kick off.