Fraserburgh battled back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Formartine United in the Breedon Highland League at North Lodge Park.
Goals from Graeme Rodger and Julian Wade had the Pitmedden side ahead, but in the final 10 minutes sub Sean Butcher and captain Willie West salvaged a point for the Broch.
In terms of the title race it’s a result that helps neither side. Formartine remain third in the table, but are now nine points behind leaders Brechin City having played the same number of games.
Fraserburgh are fourth in the table and are 10 points off the summit having played a game more than Hedgemen.
Conditions were soft underfoot, but neither side could be faulted for their effort and work-rate, however, chances in the first period were in short supply.
In the early stages Broch skipper West had a shot from 20 yards held by goalkeeper Ewen Macdonald. Then the visitors had a penalty appeal for handball turned down by referee Lewis Brown when Stuart Smith blocked Greg Buchan’s shot.
At the other end Adam Emslie’s blast from 30 yards skidded off the slick surface and was blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Joe Barbour.
Before the first period was done Fraserburgh’s Paul Young volleyed straight at Macdonald and Ryan Sargent headed off target from a Scott Barbour cross.
Formartine had a great chance after 37 minutes. Emslie’s cross from the right broke for Rodger who blazed over from 10 yards.
A minute shy of the interval United broke the deadlock. After a spell of pressure around the Fraserburgh box Emslie found space on the right flank to cross and Rodger’s pinpoint header went in off the crossbar.
Contest remains tight
Two minutes into the second period the Broch almost equalised with Ross Aitken’s cross from the right clattering off the crossbar.
In the 58th minute Formartine could have doubled their lead. A swift counter-attack saw Emslie release Julian Wade on the right with Aaron Norris racing through on goal.
Wade found his team-mate, but Aitken got back and made a superb sliding block as Norris shot.
Fraserburgh were plugging away in search of an equaliser, but they struggled to seriously test Ewen Macdonald.
In the 78th minute Formartine appeared to have sealed the points when Norris broke down the right wing and his low cross was perfect for Wade to tap home from close range.
But six minutes later Fraserburgh set up a grandstand finish when sub Butcher scored with his first touch. Kieran Simpson headed down a Joe Barbour free-kick and after Sargent’s attempt was blocked Butcher finished the loose ball from eight yards.
The Broch poured forward in the closing stages and Aidan Sopel twice went close to levelling. One attempt from the edge of the area fizzed inches wide and Macdonald tipped another effort behind for a corner in the third minute of stoppage time.
From that dead ball, which was taken by Sopel, Connor Wood sent the ball back into the danger area and it broke for West to score from close range.
The action wasn’t over with United skipper Rodger receiving a second yellow card for a foul on Simpson, having been booked in the 77th minute for a slide tackle on Sopel.
Other Highland League results
Buckie Thistle beat Rothes 3-1 in a 2pm kick-off played at Princess Royal Park in Banff. Gary Kerr gave the Speysiders the lead, but Josh Peters’ hat-trick won it for the Jags.
Second-placed Banks o’ Dee triumphed 4-1 against Deveronvale at Spain Park.
Jamie MacLellan gave the Banffers an early lead, but Dee responded well with Kane Winton, Hamish MacLeod and Ethan Cairns on target.
In the closing stages Lachie MacLeod added to the score by getting the Aberdeen side’s fourth.
Leaders Brechin beat Inverurie Locos 2-0 at Harlaw Park courtesy of counters from Danny Handling and Marc Scott.
Lossiemouth defeated Strathspey Thistle 2-1 at Grant Park. Ross Morrison gave the Coasters the lead midway through the second period, but Owen Loveland quickly restored parity.
Then Niall Kennedy put Lossie back in front from the penalty spot before his brother Jared Kennedy was sent off.
Turriff United thrashed Huntly 4-0 at the Haughs. Reeece McKeown, Dylan Stuart and Ewan Clark (2) got the goals for Turra.
Meanwhile, Brora Rangers v Clachnacuddin, Forres Mechanics v Wick Academy and Keith v Nairn County were postponed due to waterlogged pitches.