A superb display from midfielder Jack MacIver inspired Buckie Thistle to a 5-2 victory over 10-man Wick Academy at Victoria Park.
MacIver set up four goals and scored a tremendous free-kick as the Jags came from behind to move within a point of second place Formartine.
Buckie manager Graeme Stewart was frustrated with how his team started the match.
He said: “I thought we started both halves poorly. We know teams are going to come here and have a right go at us, but we switched off and made three mistakes for their first goal.
“We played really well to get 3-1 up, and at half time I told them we need to start the second half better, but we conceded a shocking second goal from our point of view.”
“Jack MacIver was man of the match in my opinion, he and Josh Peters were outstanding.
“Defensively we need to be better, but we can’t be too hard on them as I think we’ve got some of the best defenders in the league.”
Wick stun hosts with early opener
Wick started the game well and took the lead on six minutes, Kyle Henderson’s cross controlled well by Marc MacGregor and he slotted beyond Stuart Knight from close in.
The home side levelled in the 26th minute when MacIver’s cut-back was controlled superbly by Josh Peters and he fired low into the net from 12 yards.
Seven minutes later a MacIver corner picked out Jack Murray, who planted his header high past Graeme Williamson at the near post.
Six minutes from half time MacIver produced a moment of magic to curl a sublime free kick high into the top left corner from 22 yards for goal number three.
Buckie stretch their lead as Wick reduced to 10 men
The visitors responded well and reduced the deficit early in the second half, Jack Halliday slotting neatly into the far corner from 18 yards.
Wick had Owen Rendall sent off on 75 minutes after a clash with Max Barry before Sam Morrison clinched all three points for the home side when he headed home another MacIver corner.
Peters completed the scoring with his second, latching onto MacIver’s through ball to rifle low past Williamson.
Wick boss Gary Manson felt the red card ended the game as a contest.
He said: “I thought at 3-2 we were on top and if anyone was going to get the next goal it was us.
“Then the red card took effect and spoiled the game as a contest.
“I can’t really fault the players, although I did a bit at half time as I thought we lost the goals too cheaply.”
Broch hit three without reply at Rothes
Fraserburgh cruised to a 3-0 victory against Rothes at Mackessack Park.
But had youngster Jake Thomson not passed up a glorious chance a minute before Broch’s second goal it may have been a different story.
Broch boss Mark Cowie felt his side were back to their best following their fine away win.
He said: “Rothes had their best spell when they missed a good chance and a minute later we scored our second goal, but that’s football.
“Before that we were excellent, we’ve had a couple of weeks without a game but we’ve worked hard on the training ground to get back to where we were, I think that showed and that’s what this club is all about.
“We picked up most of the second balls, anything they cleared we were right on it and we were pretty relentless in the first 25 minutes.”
Rothes were without suspended defender Michael Finnis while the Broch left leading scorer Scott Barbour on the bench.
The Broch opened the scoring when Rothes failed to clear their lines and Aidan Sopel took full advantage by clipping the ball home at the back post.
Two minutes from the break Rothes winger Thomson missed a gilt-edged opportunity to equalise when, with the goal gaping, he side-footed past the post from eight yards.
The Broch went right up the park and Zane Laird beat Sean McCarthy with a superb 18-yard drive to double his side’s advantage.
Six minutes after the restart former Rothes striker Sopel rubbed salt in the wounds when his superb 18-yard drive went in off the post for Fraserburgh’s third goal.
Frustration for home boss Jack
Disappointed Rothes manager Ross Jack said: “It’s a game of fine margins.
“We should have scored at one end and a minute later they made it 2-0, but that’s been the story of our season so far.
“Our defending wasn’t the best in two of the goals we conceded.
“To allow Aidan Sopel to cut in on his right foot was criminal, we didn’t defend the throw in and nobody closed him down.
“We do have a lot of injuries and quite a few players out there today were running on empty but we have a huge game on Wednesday night (against Deveronvale) and we’ve got to get ourselves up for that one.”