Formartine United and Brora Rangers battled out a goal-less draw in a thrilling clash at North Lodge Park on Saturday.
A bumper crowd of more than 600 turned up to see the North side lose their 100 per cent league record and remain three points behind United with two games in hand.
The consensus was that a share of the points was a fair outcome, but the Pitmedden men will take heart from their second shut-out in a row and that they now have key players returning from injury.
Brora started with all guns blazing and straight from the kick off worked the ball out right to Greig who was off like lightning down the wing before slipping it inside to Sutherland who fired weakly at Shearer.
Twelve minutes in and Formartine showed their first flash of menace. Keith and Ewen forced their way through the middle and the latter sent in a crisp drive that had keeper Malin at full stretch to make a decent save.
Ewen looked a serious and imminent threat and just after the half hour only a brilliant last-ditch tackle by Houston averted dangeras the Formartine player was about the shoot.
United were looking in mean form at the back with the centre pairing of Campbell and McKeown dominating the smaller Brora forwards.
The North side started the second half as they had done the first and almost took the lead in the 50th minute.
Mackay flipped the ball over for Sutherland and his perfectly directed shot looked to have beaten the diving Shearer. But Campbell, with a desperate lunge at the ball, managed to knock it to safety off the right upright. It broke back to Mackay whose attempt was blocked.
Bagshaw chipped a ball across the goalmouth for Munro to pull off a cunning, glancing header that deserved a better fate than to rebound off the post. At the other end, Greig got in one-on-one with Shearer but his shot was again off target.
In the midst of an end-to-end final ten minutes, Munro let fly with a screamer which flew through a ruck of players and struck Malin on the chest before being cleared.
Brora were not finished and efforts by MacKay and centre back Tokley were close enough to cause concern.
Formartine United: Shearer, Jeffrey, Smith, McKeown, Campbell, Clark, Munro, Napier, Keith, Ewen, Hamill. Substitutes: Park, Bagshaw, McVitie, Donnely, Doak.
Brora Rangers: Malin, Houston, Watson, Tokley, Munro, Morrison, Gillespie, Hart, Sutherland, S MacKay, Greig. Substitutes: Hind, D MacKay Bruce, McLean, Allan.