Formartine extended their unbeaten run to 17 games with a 5-1 home victory over Huntly.
The hosts took the lead through Neil Gauld, then doubled their lead just a minute later with another from Gauld from long range. United extended their lead through left back Callum Bagshaw and Huntly got a goal back going into half time through Philip Duncan. The home side continued their dominance and extended their lead in the second half after a goal from Gary Wood and an own goal.
The win for Formartine leaves them three points behind the two at the top but they have two games in hand on Brora, who dropped two points away to Wick. They play Cove on Wednesday in a game which many believe could be winner takes all, with both sides only having three more games left afterwards.
United came out and nearly got off to the best possible start, as within seconds Scott Barbour was played through between the visiting defence, but his effort was saved by Huntly keeper Andrew Pennycook.
Midway through the first half ex-Formartine defender Blair Johnston was caught in possession after a short goal kick, which sent Wood through two-on-one with Pennycook and he cut it back to Gauld, who poked it into the right hand corner of the net.
Only a minute later, Ewen Macdonald’s goal kick was flicked on by striker Wood to Gauld 25 yards out and he astonishingly hit it on the half volley into the top right corner, giving Pennycook no chance.
The hosts continued their dominance and left back Dingwall played a one-two with Barbour, held off his man well, before placing it again into the bottom right corner from 10 yards out.
A minute after Huntly went straight up the other end of the pitch and Duncan rifled an effort into the top left corner, despite MacDonald getting a touch on it.
Gauld looked determined to get his hat-trick and he had a couple of chances, the best coming from an effort from the edge of the box which hit the crossbar, then he forced Pennycook to react well as Bagshaw was coming in for the rebound, but the giant keeper held his effort.
The Huntly goal didn’t seem to faze the league challengers as the home side scored again early in the second half. Wood got on the end of a Johnny Crawford knock down and out muscled a defender before hitting a piledriver past Pennycook.
Mid-way through the half to add insult to injury Mark Lawson turned the ball into his own net after Graeme Rodger’s cross was missed by two Formartine forwards.