Wick Academy 1 Nairn County 1
Scorers - Wick: Mackay (4) Nairn: Mackenzie (15)
Wick Academy's first game in 45 days ended in a draw as they were unable to find a way to win against Nairn County at Harmsworth Park
Academy got off to a dream start after just four minutes after Glenn Main fouled Gordon McNab to concede a free kick at the edge of the box.
Sam Mackay curled his free kick from 20 yards perfectly around the defensive wall and out of the reach of the goalkeeper into the net as Wick sprinted out of the blocks to take the lead.
But Nairn soon caught up with the Scorries and equalised 11 minutes later when Dylan Mackenzie beat the Academy defence in the air to nod Jordan Macrae’s cross from the right wing past goalkeeper Sean McCarthy from eight yards to make it 1-1.
Nairn dominated possession in the first half and almost took the lead when Adam Naismith’s free kick from the left wing found Callum Maclean unchallenged in the box eight yards from goal.
But his powerful shot was well saved by McCarthy which was pumped away from danger by the Wick defence.
Academy were forced to play on the counter attack in the first half but could have retaken the lead when Mackay’s pace down the right wing got the better of the Nairn defence.
His cross was found by Steven Anderson in the six yard box whose powerful header forced a great save from Maclean.
The tide did turn in the second half as Wick dominated after the break.
They should have taken the lead when Mackay played provider again with a perfectly weighted cross that found Jack Henry unchallenged at the edge of the six yard box.
But he was unable to guide his header on target as the ball flashed wide of the left hand post.
The moment Wick fans waited for came in the 56th minute when new signing Craig Gunn replaced Marc Macgregor as he looked to make an instant impact on the game.
He almost did after beating the offside trap and ran past the goalkeeper in the box, but his shot from a tight angle was stopped on the line by defender Callum Maclean.
Gunn then played provider for Mackay after his pass in the box gave the midfielder space to have a shot at goal from a tight angle from eight yards. But the midfielder hit the side netting.
He also laid on a pass for Steven Anderson to allow him a shot a goal with only the goalkeeper to beat but Maclean comfortably saved his weak shot.
Gunn’s best chance to win the game in the closing minutes when he beat the offside trap to run on to Jack Halliday’s through ball from the halfway line. But the goalkeeper did well to rush towards and block any chance of the shot getting past him.
Henry claimed a penalty in injury time when he pleaded that he was fouled by Ryan Macdonald. But referee Will Smith ruled Henry was guilty of simulation and booked him.