Keith earned their first Breedon Highland League win since August by coming from behind to defeat Strathspey Thistle 3-1 at Kynoch Park.
The Grantown Jags took the lead through Michael Mackenzie, but failed to build on their bright start with Jordan Cooper levelling for the Maroons, before second half strikes from Gavin Elphinstone and Lewis Coull earned them the points.
The victory is Keith’s second in the league this season and moves them on to eight points and above Deveronvale into 14th spot in the table.
Strathspey remain bottom on three points, having defeated the Banffers at the weekend.
Fast start from Jags
On a frosty night, the visitors made the perfect start by taking the lead in the fifth minute. The ball was played into Liam Shewan’s feet at the edge of the penalty area and his neat flick teed up Mackenzie to finish from 14 yards.
Keith struggled for fluency in the early stages, but Connor Killoh did sting goalkeeper Ruardhri Nicol’s palms with a volley from the edge of the box.
After quarter of an hour, Strathspey almost doubled their lead with Daniel Whitehorn’s fine curling effort from 25 yards crashing back off the inside of the right post.
The Maroons did start to create chances with Nicol turning away Lewis Coull’s free-kick and then Gavin Elphinstone headed the resultant Killoh corner narrowly over.
However, Thistle still posed a threat with Ross Logan breaking clear on the left before failing to pick out a team-mate.
Keith came again with Michael Ironside dragging a shot wide when well-placed inside the box, and, just shy of the half-hour mark, Coull failed to connect with a Kieran Yeats free-kick from the right when any touch would have resulted in the ball hitting the net.
But, on 37 minutes, the home side did equalise with Cooper heading home Yeats’ inswinging corner from the right at the near post.
Maroons strike after break
Four minutes into the second period the Maroons took the lead.
Killoh released half-time sub Nathan McKeown on the right and his ball across the edge of the box found Elphinstone, who blasted a low left-foot shot into the right corner.
Strathspey could, and perhaps should, have equalised instantly. Mackenzie played the ball across from the left and Jack Davison missed his kick with a clear sight of goal 12 yards out.
In the 55th minute, the Grantown Jags squandered another excellent opening. Shewan’s cross-cum-shot from the left side of the box was parried by Keith goalkeeper Craig Reid, but Mackenzie could only fire straight at the custodian on the rebound.
On 70 minutes, the Maroons sealed the points by netting their third. Another Yeats inswinging corner from the right was bundled over the line by Coull from close range.
Eight minutes later, sub Michael Taylor could have made it four, but his deft flick from Murray Addison’s cross forced a good save from Nicol.
To their credit, Strathspey didn’t give in, but their comeback attempts came to nothing.
On Saturday, Keith are home to Inverurie Locos, with Thistle away to Clachnacuddin.