A good first half performance wasn’t enough for Huntley as they lost 2-0 at Nairn County on Saturday.
Only one point separated the two sides before kick-off, and the tight nature of the match reflected that as it was 0-0 at the break.
But late goals from Conor Gethins and Matthew Strachan gave the hosts – buoyed by a bountiful crowd who turned up to raise money for the late Nairn’s young player Hamish Hay – all three points.
Alan Hill, the head coach, pondered a game of two contrasting halves.
“In the first half we were excellent and the dominant team,” he said.
“The first 35 minutes especially we played the ball and set a good pace. We were also direct when the space was there.
“But when we have the momentum, it’s about being purposeful in your work. We weren’t that purposeful in the last third.
“That’s why we lost the game, in the first half we were in front and most likely to score, but when we got into the frontcourt we were wasting away.
“In the second half we were poor, the midfielders stopped putting a foot on the ball and stopped playing.
The referee played his part in how the start was interrupted in the second half.
“There were no dirty challenges in the match, but the referee blew his whistle for every bit of contact that was part of the match.
“We conceded two goals from two fouls. Conor Gethins came off the bench for only two minutes and scored a goal, if that doesn’t teach the players anything, I don’t.
“The second goal is a free header. The lack of reaction is the most disappointing aspect, there was plenty of time and we had the opportunity to create chances and we never did. We got what we deserved.”
In a dull first half at Station Park, County’s Andrew Gregg only threatened the keeper with two chances before the break.
His first shot hit the crossbar with his second just before the break, forcing a save from Huntley’s side by Fraser Hobday.
Nairn cried out for a penalty just before half-time when Elgin City loanee Aidan Cruikshank fell under a challenge from Lyall Booth. But referee Billy Baxter deemed it a fair tackle.
Nairn had a great chance to score with 20 minutes left when Conor Gethins’ cross was deflected off Kenny Mackenzie, who headed in from close range off the crossbar.
The deadlock was broken when Gethins got end Scott Davidson’s cross from the left wing out of danger and fired home from close range.
Minutes later Nairn doubled his advantage when Strachan nodded in a corner from close range to give them the win.
Nairn leapt ahead of Huntley in the table on the three points, with the Black and Golds now in ninth place.
Local rivals Inverurie Locos visit Christie Park on Saturday.
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