Formartine United and Buckie Thistle battled out a goalless draw at windswept Victoria Park on Saturday.
United missed a penalty and their keeper did not have a save to make as the Pitmedden side dominated the 90 minutes. Jags keeper Kevin Main was man-of-the-match.
The result leaves Formartine thirteen points behind leaders Brora Rangers, both having played 24 matches.
Formartine had wind advantage and pressed from the outset. A big clearance up the park by Jeffrey was headed back by McKinnon towards his keeper but it fell short and Park came racing in to take advantage, but the alert Main just beat him to the ball. At the other end, Gauld tussled with McKeown, who although failing to win the ball, still did enough to impede his attempt at a shot.
The pattern was roughly three parts Formartine pressure to one of breakaway by Buckie and this never really varied that much through the first half.
United had a chance to break the deadlock just before half-time. Angus needlessly shoved Napier and Stuart Anderson stepped up to take the kick but hammered it low and hard only to see it ricochet off the post to safety.
The visitors, as they had with wind advantage, soon got on top in midfield after the break and Park forced his way through, only to be dispossessed by McKinnon as he was about to shoot.
Formartine battled away and Buckie made the sporadic upfield foray but neither side looked like they had the creativity to change the pattern.
United went for broke in using substitutes Keith, Munro and Dingwall to re-shuffle into a three-man front line.
This came near to delivering them a last-gasp winner when a Keith header from about eight yards brought a diving reflex save by Main.
Formartine United: Shearer, Bagshaw, Hamill, McKeown, Jeffrey, Anderson, Clark, McVitie, Park, Ewen, Napier. Substitutes: Keith, Munro, Dingwall, Davidson, Calder.
Buckie Thistle: Main, Angus, Wood, Stewart, MacKinnon, Rae, S Gauld, Carrol, MacMillan, Conway, Low. Substitutes: Wood, Hodge, K Gauld, Forbes, Bell.