A hat-trick from top-scorer Sam Urquhart inspired Buckie Thistle to a comfortable 5-0 Highland League win over Strathspey Thistle at Victoria Park, chalking up a remarkable 23rd league victory in a row for the Jags.
Jags manager Graeme Stewart was celebrating his 40th birthday and enjoyed his side’s display.
He said: “I thought it was an amazing performance after not playing so well against Deveronvale and Forres.
“The same group of boys have been playing a lot of games, but the squad was bigger today and we had a full bench.
“We worked on a few things in training and talked about them before the game, and they did them to perfection.
“We’ve scored five and probably could have had a few more.”
Despite their incredible winning sequence, the Jags remain a point behind leaders Fraserburgh with two games remaining in a thrilling Highland League race.
Stewart said: “You have to admire them, they’re still at the top and looking strong.
Hats off to Mark Cowie and his team, but we’ll keep fighting until the end and make them work for it.
“All we can do is win our last two games – that’s all we can ask because after nine games we didn’t think we were in it.”
Buckie raced into early lead
Andrew MacAskill got the home side off to the perfect start, planting a close-range header beyond Robert Donaldson from Marcus Goodall’s inswinging cross from the left after only three minutes.
Six minutes later it was two, with Kevin Fraser latching on to MacAskill’s diverted through ball to lob a superb finish into the far corner from ten yards under pressure from the advancing Donaldson.
Goal number three came eight minutes before the break, James McShane misjudging a long ball forward from Sam Pugh, and Urquhart took full advantage to steal in behind him and slot the ball into the left-hand corner from 12 yards.
MacAskill won a penalty for the home side in the 50th minute, coming inside off a throw in from the left and being brought down by a challenge from behind by Andrew Skinner just inside the area. Urquhart stepped up to slam the spot-kick down the middle for his second and Buckie’s fourth of the afternoon.
Urquhart completed the scoring six minutes from time, racing clear on to a Kyle McLeod flic- on to place the ball beyond Donaldson and complete his hat-trick.
Stewart added: “That’s as good as I’ve seen MacAskill and Fraser play this season, especially first half.
“They’re two of the best players in the Highland League and hopefully we can have them here a lot longer, because it makes us a better team.”
Strathspey boss looking for strong finish from his side
Strathspey boss Charlie Brown felt his team were beaten by the better side.
He said: “Buckie dominated the game for large spells and deserved their win, we gave them too much respect.
“We sat off them and let them play round about us. We started slow, they got the breakthrough and dominated from there.
“I’ve said to the players that we’ve four games left and should look to get at least seven points from them.
“There are teams in there we’re capable of beating on our day, as we’ve shown in our last four or five games.
“We just need to cut out the silly mistakes.”