Brora Rangers remain top of the Highland League, but only just following a 4-3 victory against a determined Huntly last night.
Although a third consecutive title is not in the Cattachs’ own hands, the result keeps Richard Brittain’s side’s challenge firmly alive.
Brora went into the game holding a two-point advantage over Formartine and Cove, whose games in hand mean the Cattachs can only win their remaining fixtures and hope for help from elsewhere.
Although Huntly’s Adam McNamee tried his luck from long-range with a bobbling effort easily held by goalkeeper Steven Martin, the home side created the better early chances with Colin Williamson twice thwarted by goalkeeper Andrew Pennycook, who also did well to block Paul Brindle’s low shot.
Pennycook was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers in the early stages, but he was helpless to prevent Brora taking the lead in spectacular fashion on the half-hour mark when midfielder Martin Maclean collected the ball 25 yards from goal before rasping a shot into the corner of the goal.
Maclean should have doubled the lead moments later after being put through by Brindle, but scooped over from an excellent position inside the box.
There was no stopping the Cattachs on 36 minutes, however, when Huntly defender Sean Croll misjudged a through ball, allowing Zander Sutherland to nip in and roll home, putting his side firmly in control.
Brora looked in the mood to inflict further damage at the start of the second half, with Andrew Greig shooting over following a fine run in from the left.
Huntly spurned a fine chance to halve the deficit out of the blue when Ian Cruickshank was put through on goal, but Martin got down to make a fine block.
The Cattachs were out to secure the crucial third goal, with the impressive Greig again trying his luck with a low drive that was well held by Pennycook, before the attacker shot just wide following a corner.
Brora netted a sublime third on 66 minutes, though, when on-loan Caley Thistle midfielder Ali Sutherland found the postage stamp corner with a thumping shot from just inside the box.
There was a flurry of late goals, with an excellent finish by Huntly substitute Joe Burr pulling one back before Steven Mackay appeared to have ended the game with a thumping fourth for Brora.
Huntly rallied, with two close-range finishes by Cruickshank coming too late for the visitors despite pressure for a leveller.