Formartine United missed out on second place and lost their unbeaten home league record in a 2-1 defeat by Nairn County on Saturday.
To add to their woes, influential midfielder Neil McVitie appeared to be harshly sent off and County’s winner came via a wicked deflection.
The game began at the same brisk pace that was sustained throughout and unlike an end of season affair, had instead the end-to-end characteristic of a cup tie.
Opening encounters were fairly even, although Formartine showed just a little more threat.
The battle in midfield was fierce and physical and a Kerr tackle on McKeown , delivered high, late and continued to the point of felling the big home captain surprisingly yielded nothing beyond a free kick.
In the 13th minute a vicous 20 yard free kick from by Conor Gethins was superbly turned round the post by the Shearer. At the other end, the lively Ewen got in one-on-one with the Nairn keeper after a cross ball by Park. His attempt at a left foot piledriver was well wide.
Formartine took the lead in the 33rd minute. Park and Bagshaw had shots blocked but Cammy Keith was on hand to clip the rebound smartly past the keeper.
However, the advantage was shortlived as County drew level two minutes later when ace marksman Gethins latched on to a through ball by Main on the left and from a tight position sent an accurate shot between Shearer and the back post.
The home side were then reduced to 10 men when McVitie was ordered off. He was involved in an incident with Morrison which was missed by the referee but flagged by the far side assistant. Following their discussion the Formartine player was red carded.
It appeared that McVitie had reacted to an apparent stamp by his opponent which was not seen by the officials.
To their credit United did not seem to be affected by being a man down. They continued to press, but Nairn proved they could get into dangerous positions.
The winner, which came in the 57th minute, was cruel on the home side. A Duncanson shot was blocked and rebounded to MacPhee at the edge of the area. His fierce effort was deflected past Shearer.
Formartine tried everything to find the equaliser but it was not to be and their proud 100% record was ended.
Teams: Shearer, Jeffrey, Smith, McKeown, Clark, Anderson, Park, McVitie, Keith, Ewen, Bagshaw. Substitutes: Dingwall, Campbell, Mathers, Napier, Davidson.
Nairn County: Donaldson, Webb, Glen Main, Morrison, MacDonald, Greig Main, MacPhee, Naismith, Duncanson, Gethins, Kerr.
Substitutes: Pollock, Ellis, Moore, MacCallum.