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Highland League: Nairn’s good run continues; Clach thrash Wick

The Wee County defeated Rothes, while the Lilywhites were in sparkling form against the Scorries.

Aaron Nicolson scored in Nairn County's Breedon Highland League win against Rothes
Aaron Nicolson scored in Nairn County's Breedon Highland League win against Rothes

Nairn County ran out easy 3-0 winners against an insipid Rothes outfit at Mackessack Park.

Victory extends the Wee County’s unbeaten run to 11 games, while the Speysiders could only register two shots on target in 90 minutes.

Delighted Nairn manager Steven Mackay said: “This is always a hard place to come to, the first thing you have to do is win the battles and try to outwork them.

“It was important for us to stamp our authority on the game early-on.

“That was probably the best 45 minutes we’ve played all season. It was complete, with everyone doing their jobs and winning the second balls to get it forward into areas where we knew we could hurt them.

“I think we deserved to score twice before half-time. The opener came from a great Ross Tokely header. Aaron Nicolson’s finish gave us a great platform to build on in the second half.”

There was little to choose between the two sides in the early stages and it took until the 21st minute for the game’s first chance to come along, Sean McCarthy in the Rothes goal brilliantly parrying Andrew MacLeod’s ferocious 25-yard free-kick.

County were dictating the play and they took the lead in the 39th minute when Ross Tokely headed home a near-post corner kick.

It was 2-0 three minutes later, Aaron Nicolson running through unchallenged to plant the ball past McCarthy from 12 yards.

Just after the break, Nicolson fired a 15-yarder narrowly wide as Nairn continued to dictate.

After an almighty scramble in the County goalmouth, keeper Dylan Maclean did brilliantly to turn away a Kyle Whyte effort and gather the rebound.

Rothes manager Ross Jack.

Nairn went up the park and dangerman MacLeod drilled the ball low past McCarthy from the edge of the box.

Dejected Rothes manager Ross Jack said: “We were second best after the first 20 minutes when our shape was ok.

“But if we defend the way did, we were always going to get punished – and we did.

“Their first goal was a free header from a corner and the second one wasn’t great either, so we really are miles off it at the moment, fitness and sharpness-wise.

“I know quite a few of the guys are suffering from this sickness, but we need to be better than that.”

Clachnacuddin 8-0 Wick Academy

Clachnacuddin boss Conor Gethins believes Lewis Mackenzie has a bright future as a striker after he grabbed a hat-trick in their 8-0 thrashing of Wick Academy.

The Lilywhites were in a ruthless mood against the Scorries as they picked up their second Breedon Highland League win of the season.

Mackenzie was moved from his usual position on the right wing to play as a striker.

Gethins said: “Lewis could be a vital player for us in that position going forward.

“I don’t see why he can’t have a future playing through the middle – with his pace he can give any defence a problem.

“We’ve missed an out-ball in behind and an outlet to turn teams, and from the first minute Lewis was a thorn in Wick’s side.”

After a tricky start to the campaign, Gethins feels things are improving for Clach, who are 16th in the table.

He added: “In our last six games we’ve scored four against Strathspey, three at Lossie, three against Keith and now eight.

“In the last three games we’ve only conceded one goal, so we’ve rectified things at both ends and now it’s about believing we can go and do much better than we have been.”

Great eight for Lilywhites

Clach took a seventh-minute lead when Harry Nicolson finished after a corner broke to him.

Harry Hennem added the second by dispatching a cross from the left, and Troy Cooper’s low finish made it three on 41 minutes.

Mackenzie got the next on the stroke of half-time, netting from an acute angle after rounding goalkeeper James More.

Early in the second period, Academy’s Kyle Henderson hit the crossbar with a free-kick before Mackenzie got the fifth on 71 minutes from Cooper’s through-ball.

Hennem netted his second from Mackenzie’s cutback two minutes later, then Mackenzie cut in from the right and finished to complete his hat-trick.

Lewis Mackenzie scored a hat-trick for Clachnacuddin.

In the last minute, Cooper got the eighth on the rebound after More tipped Robert Urquhart’s attempt on to the bar.

Wick player-manager Gary Manson said: “It was one of those days where everything Clach hit went in. We huffed and puffed at the start of the second half but didn’t score and after that little spell it was game over.

“We were short of bodies. Some of the boys are injured, which is fair enough. But we had late call-offs on Friday night and folk off to Hogmanay parties elsewhere.

“The manner of the defeat and the manner of the goals is disappointing – every time Clach went forward they looked like scoring.”