Formartine United closed the gap on Highland League leaders Brora Rangers to seven points with two games in hand but were frustrated not to have won on manager Kris Hunter’s return to Bellslea.
Former Broch player and manager Hunter’s men still have champions Brora to play at North Lodge Park but this was a game they needed to win if they are to maintain hopes of a first league title.
A draw was just about right, as neither side deserved to lose the league’s sole surviving game which was played on a heavy pitch.
The home side took the lead in the 15th minute with a brilliant overhead kick from 35-year-old Russell McBride but Garry Wood earned the Pitmedden side a point when he levelled in the 33rd minute.
Fraserburgh central defender Bryan Hay, the man of the match, reckoned a point each was a fair result and said: “We have taken four points in our last two games against Cove and now Formartine, so we have got to be pleased after the heavy defeats we suffered against Keith and Brora in the last two games.
“It was a great performance. Of course we wanted the win but a draw is still a good result against Formartine.
“Our young goalkeeper Ed Finn came on for the second half and did really well. He made two or three really good saves, especially the one just two minutes after coming on.”
The opening exchanges were even but on the quarter hour Fraserburgh shook the title challengers when they took the lead.
Formartine failed to clear a corner kick and veteran McBride, playing in attack as he did in the Cove game a fortnight ago, took full advantage when, with his back to goal on the six-yard line, he hooked the ball over his shoulder past goalkeeper Andy Reid and into the net.
United were shaken and the Broch continued to press with McBride a constant problem for the visiting defence. On the half hour Formartine almost equalised but Jamie Masson’s superb 25-yard free kick rebounded off the post and was cleared to safety, but the Pitmedden men would not be denied for long.
Just three minutes later United drew level when Broch goalkeeper Joe Barbour dived at the feet of Neil Gauld. With Barbour lying injured and the home side’s players claiming for a foul, Wood took advantage by running in and scoring from 10 yards for his 21st goal of the season.
Barbour recovered after treatment on the pitch and although he lasted until the interval, he was unable to play in the second half suffering from blurred vision.
Teenager Finn took his place in goal with McBride reverting to his usual position in central defence.
In the 56th minute former St Johnstone youngster Finn distinguished himself when he dived to block a Graeme Rodger effort from a Wood knock down while at the other end Dean Cowie pulled a shot wide of the target from 12 yards.
Two minutes after coming on United substitute Cammy Keith, back after a holiday in America, volleyed a yard wide of the target as both sides pressed for a winner in vain.
Formartine midfielder Stuart Anderson thought a draw was the right result.
He said: “Bellslea is a tough place to go to, as Cove found out a fortnight ago when they came unstuck. Their system was difficult to play against in the first 20 minutes but we managed to weather their pressure and it turned into an end to end game, so a draw was a fair result.
“Conditions were tricky but we would much rather have the game on than have a fixture pile-up at the end of the season. There is always a noisy crowd here, they are a well-supported team and these are the sort of games we all want to play in.”