Inverurie Locos bounced back from their 4-0 reverse at Brora Rangers by beating Deveronvale 3-1.
Both sides deserved credit for trying to play good football in difficult overhead and underfoot conditions.
Despite a slightly nervy finish to the game, home boss Andy Low felt his side won comfortably. He said: “I thought the boys played well, I was happy with the performance.
“It was unfortunate we lost a goal as I don’t think we deserved to concede.
“We managed their threats throughout the game and we should have scored more.
“Young Kyle Gordon was brilliant for us and so were our other strikers Neil Gauld and Chris Angus.
“It was one of those games where the ball ran away from them but they kept going.
“It paid off for us having loaned out Kyle to Colony Park Juniors because I wanted to see him come back to us properly match fit.
“He was outstanding at Brora and in this game as we were without Craig Gill and our captain Neil McLean.
“There is still a lot to play for. The league has gone from our reach but second or third place hasn’t, either placing would be progress for us.”
Vale goalkeeper James Blanchard twice denied Angus while a Gauld header hit the crossbar before the Red and Blacks took the lead in 31 minutes. Gauld’s shot was blocked but Greg Mitchell pounced on the loose ball and drove powerfully home with his left foot. Midway through the second half Mark Souter doubled the lead after beating Blanchard at his left post with a superb header from Jamie Michie’s free kick.
Vale dug out a goal with three minutes left when Ryan Sargent met a Harry Noble cross and found the corner with his header despite Andy Reid’s attempt to save.
Angus made sure of the win on full-time by beating Blanchard after converting from a Gauld pass.
Standing in for unavailable Vale manager Steve Dolan, assistant manager Craig Stewart said: “At one point I felt we may have got something out of the game but we didn’t do enough.
“It would have been an injustice if we’d grabbed an equaliser but we’d have taken it.”