Deveronvale manager Craig Stewart has challenged his side to maintain the standards they set in their 2-0 victory against Nairn County.
The Banffers picked up their first win of the Breedon Highland League season courtesy of first half goals from Dane Ballard and Robert Scott at Station Park.
Boss Stewart said: “We’re delighted with the win, after last week we were looking for a bit of a reaction and we definitely got that.
“We weren’t poor by any means against Brora, but we wanted to up our level a bit, be a bit more clinical and be better in possession.
“I think we did all of those things and defensively I thought we were outstanding.
“We raised our bar and set our standards, I said it at half-time and at full-time.
“That is the standard we need to maintain week-in, week-out and if we do that then hopefully we’ll do very well this season.”
Ballard back with a bang
Nairn endured a nightmare start, they lost defender Fraser Dingwall during the warm-up with a torn medial ligament and then fell behind on seven minutes.
Scott dispossessed Glenn Main and put Ballard through on goal with the striker beating goalkeeper William Counsell to score his first competitive goal since August 2018 having come back from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and torn meniscus.
Stewart added: “It doesn’t feel like three years to be honest. I’m sure there will be a wee bit of relief for Dane, but it was always going to come.
“I didn’t anticipate waiting very long for Dane to get that goal, he’s worked very hard in pre-season and he put in a great shift.”
In response Nairn’s Rory Williamson fired over from 15 yards and shortly before the half hour mark Vale keeper Sean McIntosh tipped over a powerful Kenny McKenzie effort.
At the other end Scott beat Counsell to a header, but the ball drifted wide.
In first half stoppage time Deveronvale doubled their lead.
Ballard’s flick on found Scott, who collected and rifled a shot into the top right corner from 25 yards.
Nairn players protested that Scott had controlled the ball with his arm, but referee Billy Baxter disagreed.
Manager Stewart said: “We were right behind him and as soon as it opened up for him it was a case of ‘hit it.’
“Bob’s very capable of finishes like that, it’s a great strike and he deserved it again for the work he put in.”
County can’t find a way back
With the last kick of the opening 45 Sam Robertson could’ve put the Banffers three up, but he shot wide from the right side of the area.
After the break Liam Shewan could have pulled one back for the hosts, but he headed wide of an open goal after McIntosh’s save from Max Ewan’s cross-cum-shot looped into Shewan’s path.
For Deveronvale Robertson’s deflected cross from the right flank cracked against the right post.
Shortly before the hour mark following a swift counter-attack Scott rounded Counsell wide on the left and curled an effort towards goal which was spectacularly hooked off the line by Ramsay.
Nairn kept pushing until the conclusion but couldn’t find the net.
With 20 minutes left McIntosh did make a fine save top tip over sub Seamus McConaghy’s volley.
And the custodian made another good stop from Callum MacLean’s header in the closing stages.
Injuries giving Sharp concerns
County manager Ronnie Sharp said: “It’s not a great performance from us again. That’s two on the trot we haven’t really played well.
“The big problem is giving away goals and the other major issue is the amount of injuries we’ve picked up.
“I think we’ve got six now and it’s players who were regulars in the team.
“That’s the major issue, but the players we’re bringing in have to stand up and have to learn,
“We’ve got quite a few young boys playing but we’ve been making mistakes and chasing the game which is a problem.
“With Fraser we didn’t know what happened, it was something simple, he was just away to run and then the knee seems to have gone.
“John Treasurer, Scott Davidson, Tom MacLennan, Callum Howarth and now Fraser are all injured.”