Formartine United player-manager Paul Lawson is targeting a strong finish to the campaign after denting Brechin City’s Breedon Highland League title challenge.
Graeme Rodger’s goal earned the hosts a 1-0 win at North Lodge Park.
The victory makes it 12 unbeaten in the league for sixth-placed Formartine and it was an impressive response after losing two late goals to draw 4-4 with Brora Rangers on their last outing.
Lawson said: “We’re really pleased to get the three points and I thought we dug in and defended really well.
“We were going to have to do that against a good side like Brechin.
“The boys worked really hard and it’s a boost after losing late goals against Brora, it’s encouraging to see this game out.
“It was important to keep a clean sheet because losing four goals at home wasn’t good enough.
“We’ve been inconsistent this season but we think we should be up at the top end of the table and we showed that.
“We had to defend well and it was encouraging the way we stood up to the task.
“But it’s not good enough doing it once, we need to do it on a more consistent basis, but we’re delighted with the win.
“We want to finish the season strongly, we’re not happy finishing sixth or seventh.”
Rodger makes the difference
Chances were at a premium in the early stages. The only decent opening in the first half hour was Garry Wood’s scooped an effort over from Jamie Bain’s cross.
But Formartine took the lead on 32 minutes with Daniel Park’s cross from the right retrieved by Cole Anderson on the opposite flank.
He found Rodger, who spun away from his marker and finished into the bottom right corner from 16 yards.
A minute before half-time City goalkeeper Jack Wills made an impressive save to thwart Jonny Smith after Scott Lisle’s back-heel teed up the striker inside the area.
Before the half was out Brechin’s Cameron Ross forced a fine save from Ewen MacDonald with a strike from 20 yards.
From the corner that followed Michael Paton’s delivery was stabbed wide at the front post by Jack Milne.
In the second period Brechin tried to pen their hosts in as they searched for an equaliser.
Although Formartine did have to defend stoutly at times, they weren’t seriously tested by the Hedgemen.
In the 72nd minute Smith had another great chance to double United’s lead. Tyler Mykyta’s delightful chip put him through on goal, but Smith’s shot was blocked by Wills.
Shortly after Kevin McHattie’s well-timed last ditch challenge prevented Kevin Hanratty getting a shot away and at the other end Milne shot straight at Macdonald from the left side of the area.
Brechin’s best chance of equalising came in the 80th minute when Wood evaded the offside trap to latch onto McHattie’s long ball, but he drilled wide when completely free.
City remain fifth in the table six points behind leaders Fraserburgh – who won 5-3 at Glebe Park last Monday.
Hedgemen didn’t do enough
Boss Andy Kirk said: “When we came in and took over there was a project to build the club, get it back on its feet and get a team to win games of football, which we’ve done.
“We’d all love to win every game, win the league and we’d love to win promotion. That will always be part of what we’re about.
“We’ll pick ourselves up and try to put a run together, we’ll aim to win every game between now and the end of the season and see where that takes us.
“The result is hugely disappointing especially after Monday.
“There’s a huge amount of the season to go and football’s a funny game where anything can happen.
“But we need to do more, players need to work harder and that will hopefully give us the opportunity to win more games.
“We were looking for a reaction after a poor result on Monday and we didn’t get that from the players.
“We had enough on the pitch to win the game if we performed properly, but we just didn’t do enough.
“We didn’t create enough goalscoring opportunities and some games are like that where you don’t create much but you win 1-0. But we didn’t do enough.”