Formartine United went to the top of the table with an impressive 2-0 win over champions Brora Rangers at Dudgeon Park on Saturday.
United staked their title claim in no uncertain terms in what was a tough test and inflicted a rare home defeat on the Sutherland side.
Goals from Garry Wood and Neil Gauld clinched the three points in what was a satisfying weekend for the Pitmedden men with league leaders Turriff United losing at Buckie.
Formartine share the top spot with Cove Rangers, who narrowly defeated Clach 1-0, but the North Lodge club have a superior goal difference.
Steady rain made the pitch slippery and Brora went close in the opening minute with a fierce drive from Sutherland.
But it was United who took the lead in the eighth minute when Wood curled a superb shot from 15 yards past the despairing dive of Malin.
This shook the home side and their support and they responded with a looping Sutherland effort from 15 yards which Reid managed to scramble round the post.
Shortly before the interval Graham headed over as Brora pressed for the equaliser. Then Sutherland shot into the side netting.
On the hour mark the home side made a change with Greig replacing Mackay.
Rangers came close when Morrison sent a 30-yard free kick just wide.
But it was Formartine who increased their advantage in the 75th minute. Lawson’s free kick found substitute Gauld totally unmarked at the back post and he nodded home.
The goal proved decisive and there was delight in the Formartine camp at the final whistle .
Brora Rangers: Malin, Williamson, Macdonald, Munro, Houston, Gillespie, Graham, Morrison, Sutherland, Mackay, Brindle. Substitutes: Greig, Maclean, Brittain, Kettlewell, Porritt, Grant, Martin.
Formartine United: Reid, McVitie, Smith, McKeown, Crawford, Lawson, Rodger, Anderson, Keith, Wood, Barbour. Substitutes: Gauld, Michie, Axten, Jeffrey, French, Dingwall, MacDonald.