Formartine United were made to work hard for a 3-0 win at bottom club Strathspey Thistle on Saturday.
The Pitmedden side scored twice in the last ten minutes to put a better complexion on the scoreline and keep them joint top of the table with Wick Academy, Brora Rangers and Inverurie Locos, all with 100 percent records.
The strategy of the game was the same throughout. Whenever Formartine were on the ball in home territory and facing goal, Strathspey put eight players between keeper and ball and worked at stifling their progress.
The visitors had about 70% advantage in terms of possession and territory for most of the time. Thistle eventually wilted noticeably over the last 15 minutes when they conceded two further goals.
Formartine opened the scoring in the 35th minute from the penalty spot. Cammy Keith, keen to make amends from his spot kick miss the previous week, made no mistake this time.
Immediately after the resumption a Keith pile-driver was fumbled by Carklins, but the keeper recovered just enough to get a block on the follow up.
For a few minutes around the hour mark shots rained in on the Strathspey goal. All of them from Hamill, Ewen, McVitie, Keith and Clark were forcefully and accurately struck, but such remained the congestion in the area that each rebounded to safety.
Formartine finally grabbed a second in the 80th minute with a powerful header by Craig McKeown and added a third three minutes later.
Joe Hamill, one of the summer signings, opened his account with a well-struck shot which gave the keeper little chance.
United emerged injury free ahead of Saturday’s eagerly-awaited Ramsdens Cup quarter-final at Annan Athletic.
Strathspey Thistle: Carklins, Mochan, Wardrope, Ritchie, Hendry, McKernie, Ross, MacDonald, Groat, McShane, Bobrowski. Substitutes: Jones, Peter, Campbell, Smith, Metheson.
Formartine United: Shearer, Jeffrey, Smith, McKeown, Munro, Clark, Park, McVitie, Keith, Ewen, Hamill. Substiutes: Napier, Bagshaw, Soane, Campbell, Calder.