Ellon United lost 4–1 at home to Banks o’ Dee on Saturday and with the three other teams at the wrong end of the table also losing, the relegation struggle remains too close to call.
New Elgin sit on 12 points with five games to go, Cruden Bay on 13 points with three games left, Ellon United on 14 points with five games to go and Hall Russell on the 16-point mark with four games remaining.
With Callum Steer working and no replacement keeper available compounded by Martin Crisp and Shaun Robertson also missing, United faced Banks o’ Dee with Michael Cramp deputising in goal and a completely changed back four from the previous week`s starting line-up against Maud.
The home side looked to have a big task on their hands against a strong Dee outfit but competed well in the first half and were unlucky to go in a goal behind at the interval after having taken the lead.
Dee equalised in the 37th minute minute before a goal on either side of the break gave the visitors the initiative with United never fully recovering.
United took a 25th minute lead when Andy Anderson fired home. The home side almost went two up soon after before Dee made a change with McCall coming on to bolster their defence.
With just over half an hour played Dee broke down the left and it took a good save from Cramp to keep out the header from the cut back. United`s makeshift keeper was unlucky three minutes later.
The visitors broke on the right with Cramp managing to claw away the first effort off Donaldson`s cross but in the pin ball that followed, the ball finally broke to Horne in the clear to level things.
Ellon were caught in first half stoppage time when Lennox beat the home defence to bullet home a header off another Donaldson cross with only time left to take the centre.
Dee were awarded a free kick just outside the Ellon box only four minutes into the second half with Horne`s low shot finding the far corner.
The visitors threatened to run riot for a spell and had chances to add to their lead with United unable to make any impression at this stage.
Ellon held out until the 65th minute when a long diagonal ball was volleyed home by Donaldson to add Dee’s fourth.
United were rarely seen as an attacking threat in the second period until late on with Callum Tremaine breaking only for his cutback to find no takers, then a fine save from Dee keeper Smith at the expense of a corner the only real testers.
Ellon United: Cramp, Annand, Millsom, Thomson, Tait, Bremner, Tremaine, Anderson, McLeod, Smith, Erskine (KennedyColbert), Watson, Greig, Leahy.
Banks o’ Dee: Smith, Forsyth, Abbot, Allan, Robertson, Duncan, Donaldson, Innes, Horne, Lennox, Allexander, Berton, Wilson, Croll, Alexander, McCall.
Life does not appear to get any easier for Ellon with another daunting challenge on Saturday when they travel to meet champions- elect Hermes.
Meanwhile, the numbers in United`s weekly Lucky Six Draw were 3, 5, 7, 10, 12 and 13 with Neal McFarlane the only person to pick the full to win the jackpot of £1650.
The jackpot for the next draw will be £1000 with the selection 6 from 20. The consolation prize winner was D Stephen.