Ellon United bounced back from their midweek defeat by relegation rivals Cruden Bay and showed great spirit to record a 1-0 win at high-flying Maud on Saturday.
United leapfrogged Bay who lost 4-1 at Inverness City to intensify the battle to avoid the drop.
Ellon failed to turn up in the first half at Cruden Bay and found themselves two goals down at the interval.
They performed much better in the second period but lost another goal before a Callum Tremaine header gave them what only proved to be a consolation strike.
The league run in remains too tight for comfort with New Elgin sitting on 12 points with six games to play, Cruden Bay on 13 points with four games remaining and United now on 14 points with six games to play. Hall Russell United sit a point better off than Ellon with the same number of games to go.
United’s lack of consistency showed with their completely different approach at Maud compared with some recent displays with nothing to separate the teams apart from their league positions.
With seventeen minutes gone Lenny Johnson and Scott McLeod linked up on the right to feed the ball back to Matty Bremner whose cross was met by Andy Smith only to see his header go wide.
Maud`s best opening came via route one when Morrice latched on to a kick out from keeper Dunbar and ran through only to put his effort the wrong side of Callum Steer`s right hand post.
Two minutes later Tremaine cut the ball inside to Scott McLeod whose first time shot lacked the power to trouble Dunbar. Both defences held firm with any shots blocked before they could trouble the keepers but United did escape when a free header from a corner was headed clear off the line by Johnson.
Ellon responded immediately and forced a series of corners ending with Grant Thomson heading just wide.
Maud tried to raise the pace of their game after the interval but the visitors stood firm and it was United who went ahead when Grant Thomson won the ball and fed Johnson whose cross was finished off by Andy Anderson.
The home side looked to retrieve the situation and though United did have a couple of scary moments, Maud were unable to test Callum Steer and the visitors looked just as likely to add to their lead.
Ellon United: Steer, Bremner, Robertson, Thomson, Millsom, Crisp, Johnson, Anderson, McLeod, Smith, Tremaine, Watson, Annand, Mathieson, Greig, Erskine.
Maud: Dunbar, Whyte, Graham, Hall, Simpson, Ritchie, Conway, Fraser, Morrice, Willox, Bremner, Rae, Gauld, Stott, Hale, Smith.
United face the first of two very difficult home games on Saturday when Banks o’ Dee are the visitors to the Meadows followed next Tuesday night by the visit of Culter.
Saturday`s match kicks off at 2pm with Tuesday night`s game starting at 6.45pm.
Meanwhile, the numbers in United`s weekly Lucky Six Draw were 1, 5, 6, 9, 12 and 13 and with no one picking the full set the jackpot for next week`s draw will be £1650 with the selection 6 from 13.
The consolation prize winner was M Thomson.