Over a hundred eager County fans made their way across the moor to Grantown yesterday afternoon anticipating a quick comeback from the home defeat against Inverurie last Saturday. Another Highland League ground benefited from an increase in pie and gate receipts as the Station Park faithful arrived for the expected entertainment. It was still snowing on the National Park mountains and for a while it threatened to head towards Seafield Park but only a few drops of drizzle were to bother the spectators and players who were already braving the windchill factor.
County worked hard and couldn't seem to find the goal, time wore on and eventually the opposition made a few forays and even managed a few shots. Fans' spirits remained high however as the half-time whistle blew for a game still goal-less.
After the pies, tea and craic play resumed with some fans joking that Strathspey needed to score a goal so Nairn would be galvanised into one of their regular comebacks after a free giveaway. It wasn't to be though as time seemed to thunder by relentlessly towards what looked like an inevitable conclusion. And Strathspey were to get their victory because that was what it was given the gulf between the teams in the table. County diehards will remember the days when 0-0 at Station Park against a top team was a reason to go out and celebrate. And fair play to Strathspey, they continue to improve and they achieved their aim yesterday - one precious point taken in a game against high-flying County - a point that came despite the award of a penalty against them in the final minutes - no need to mention much more about that awfully taken opportunity by Stuart Leslie.
Sombre thoughts then as you could see the rear lights of the cavalcade of cars and minibuses heading home in deep disappointment up the hill into the A939 gloom past Craig Whyte's wee pied à terre. A faction were to soon be seen later calling for the head of Les Fridge on the Facebook page but the majority seemed to be more reflective not posting any thoughts, some were suggesting however that too much expectation had been built on the result against a young and inexperienced Keith team a fortnight ago.
Unless there is a melt-down for a prolonged period on the field at Brora then the title looks to be going their way now but with County having taken only one point from the last 6 the race for second place is wide open again. Que sera, sera, County will have to come back quickly and get some results in the run-up to the Highland League Cup game away to Formartine in March.
Some images below - Android and iphone readers should be able to see them on this page of individual pictures here.
Update - Pictures from Donald Matheson, individual images here.