Jason Brown believes beaten Elgin could do rivals Peterhead a massive favour next weekend by pulling the plug on a Links Park title party.
The Blue Toon defender’s 10th goal of an impressive campaign earned three vital points at Borough Briggs and kept alive chances of supplanting Montrose at the League Two summit.
With three points separating the top two, only a Peterhead victory at home to Edinburgh City and a shock Elgin win at Montrose would make the Balmoor club champions on the final day.
Montrose preserved the three-point cushion with a 2-0 win at Stenhousemuir but have a greatly inferior goal difference to Peterhead.
For Brown, there is still hope – and he is backing north foes Elgin to make life difficult for the leaders.
Saturday’s victory made it five derby wins from five for the Blue Toon against the Black and Whites, but the 21-year-old said: “We know Elgin are a good team who don’t make it easy for any opponent.
“I’m sure they won’t make it easy for Montrose but we will just concentrate on what we need to do.
“It was a vital win for us at Elgin. We’ve been on a good run so we can’t complain. We’ve been applying pressure.”
Brown, earlier in the match, saw a tremendous effort touched on to the bar by Elgin keeper Brett Long before netting the winner.
He said: “I had chances earlier in the match and hit the bar, so it was frustrating. But the boys plugged away and I was confident we would get more chances.”
It was a tame derby in terms of drama and, in the first half, chances were limited.
Peterhead top scorer Rory McAllister had a couple of shots at goal.
Elgin’s Darryl McHardy was denied by a fine David McCracken block in the box before, at the other end, McCracken headed wide. City finished the half well, Thomas Reilly inches away with a half volley.
Reilly forced a diving save out of Greg Fleming at the other end after the break while the visitors had a penalty claim turned down when Smith went down as he tried to round Long, who the referee adjudged to have got a touch on the ball.
Scott Brown blazed a great chance over for Peterhead on 69 minutes, but the crucial goal arrived four minutes later.
Gibson swung over a free kick from deep on the left and Jason Brown was unmarked to nod a bouncing header into the net from against the base of the post.
Peterhead survived a late scare when City sub Declan Byrne cut inside from the left and smashed a shot off the base of the far post.
ELGIN CITY (4-4-2) – Long 6, Eadie 6 (A. Sutherland 83, 5), Allan 7, McHardy 6, Bronsky 6, McGovern 6, Reilly 6, Cameron 6, McLeish 7, S. Sutherland 6, Smith 6 (Byrne 76, 4). Subs not used: Ferguson, Cooper, Whitehead, McDade, Ross.
Peterhead (4-4-2) – Fleming 6, Jason Brown 7, McIlduff 6, Smith 7 (Robertson 64, 5), McCracken 7, Ferry 5 (Leitch 52, 5), Stevenson 7, S. Brown 6 (Jordon Brown 74, 4), McAllister 6, McLean 6, Gibson 8. Subs not used: Jordan Brown, Belmokhter, Johnstone, Norris, Hobday.
Referee – Euan Anderson 7
Attendance – 786
Man of the match – Willie Gibson