FORMARTINE UNITED’S charge towards Highland League title glory took an unexpected twist as dethroned Forres Mechanics put a spanner in the works.
Steve Paterson’s side had to storm back from 2-0 down to salvage a point at home to the Can Cans to retain their lead in the league title chase.
But remaining rivals Cove Rangers crept back to within just a point behind their Aberdeenshire foes after smashing five past Inverurie Locos.
Forres looked in the mood for mischief as Lee Fraser netted twice in the first half after 15 and 24 minutes. But the leaders roared back after the break and Daniel Park pulled one back on 61 minutes. Another from Mike Ewen – his 36th of the season – sealed a point after 64 minutes.
Cove cranked up the pressure with an emphatic 5-0 hammering of hosts Locos.
Jamie Lennox hit a 14-minute hat-trick with goals after 16, 28, and 30 minutes.
Conor Scully made it four on 31 minutes and Robbie Henderson completed the rout with 27 minutes left to put Cove within a point of United.
Elsewhere, Nairn’s Conor Gethins grabbed a double in a 4-1 Moray derby triumph over Lossiemouth.
Wick Academy entertained Huntly and ran out easy 4-0 victors. Richard MacAdie opened the scoring after two minutes and Lukasz Geruzel made it 2-0 just before the break.
Geruzel hit his second on the hour mark and Sam Mackay smashed in the fourth on 76 minutes.
Clachnacuddin’s title aspirations were killed off completely by a 4-1 loss at home to Fraserburgh.
Deveronvale edged out Fort William 2-1 at Banff while Keith eased through 3-0 at Rothes with goals from Sean Keith, Cammy Keith and Craig Phillips. A Donnie Munro brace helped Buckie Thistle to a 3-1 win at Strathspey and Turriff beat Brora Rangers 4-2.