Cove Rangers manager John Sheran believes the point earned from their 0-0 draw with Formartine United could be important in the Highland League title race.
The champions fell two points behind Brora Rangers after drawing at North Lodge Park because the Cattachs won 11-0 at Fort William. However, the Granite City side still have two games in hand.
Sheran felt they could have claimed all three points against Formartine.
He said: “The two teams cancelled each other out at times.
“It was a great game in the first half, with both teams attacking.
“It became more of a physical battle in the second half, and it’s always quite hard to play up the hill at North Lodge Park.
“I thought we created better chances and had a pretty good shout for a penalty. It could have been given, but a point is what we’ve ended up with.
“The season lasts for 34 games and this point could end up being an important one.
“At the end of the season it is what you accumulate for the whole year. It’s not just one night or one game, we just have to get through the games,” he added.
“We would have loved to have won but we’ve taken four points off of Formartine this year, which is still a good return because they are one of the challengers.
“Hopefully Formartine can do something on Saturday against Brora, but it’s up to us to win our games.
“We’re not really worried about Brora and the games they have to play.
“If we think about that, we end up not focusing on playing our own game.
“I thought Formartine started better than we did but gradually we took control of the game.
“It was one of those nights where at times the ball just didn’t fall the right way for us.
“It looks as if the title race is going to go all the way.”
United gaffer Paul Lawson was pleased they managed to keep Cove at bay and said: “A draw was probably fair in the end. We had a good chance in the first minute, which was saved, and we started well.
“In the second half they shaded it without having a lot of chances and the game became a battle and a draw was probably a fair result.
“We can look at the positive of keeping a clean sheet after conceding three against Rothes at the weekend and again we showed we can match Cove.
“They are the team to beat in the league and we’ve shown we can match them on our day, but it’s about doing it on a more consistent basis.
“We’ve said to the team that clean sheets are important. Cove and Brora are ahead of us and they have conceded less goals, so the clean sheet in this game was pleasing. We are still in contention to finish third and that is our target.”
Cove keeper Stuart McKenzie was called into action after 30 seconds when Aaron Norris set up Garry Wood, but his low 12-yard shot was stopped by McKenzie.
On 25 minutes a flick from Paul McManus released Mitch Megginson in a foot race with home keeper Kevin Main for the ball.
Main just got there first, but his clearance was blasted off Megginson and looped just wide of the unguarded goal.
The game was played at a high tempo, but chances were at a premium.
On 65 minutes the foot of Main denied McManus after the striker beat the offside trap following Scott Ross’ header forward.
With 17 minutes left Main made a fine reaction save to again deny McManus. The striker let fly from six yards after Connor Scully’s free-kick from the right dropped to him.
Then Cove were appealing for a penalty as sub Jordan MacRae was caught by Graeme Rodger, but referee Alan Proctor waved away the protests.
Cove pressed in the closing stages and substitute Jordon Brown looped a header just over from Milne’s left-wing cross.
Soon after, Brown flashed a shot wide from 20 yards, and the game finished goalless.