Cove Rangers boss John Sheran hopes Wick Academy can do his title favourites a favour midweek against Brora.
Sheran was impressed by the visitors to the Balmoral Stadium on Saturday, who proved stubborn opponents for the Granite City side in a goalless first half.
The champions’ class eventually told as they ran out 5-0 winners, despite missing the penalty which referee Dan McFarlane awarded along with a red card for Wick’s Michael Steven in the first period.
The scoreline perhaps didn’t reflect the tight nature of the game, with three goals coming in the last few minutes of play.
Sheran, whose team remain six points clear of Brora – who beat Nairn 3-0 on Saturday – with three games to play and on course for another crack at the SPFL play-offs, said: “What changed it was the sending off.
“In the first half, Wick were excellent and knocked the ball about really well.
“We weren’t getting to grips with it and trying to attack too much without getting a hold of the ball.
“But we created a number of opportunities, and with the penalty should’ve been ahead.
“We told them at half-time to just relax and play. Obviously there’s a bit of pressure on everybody.
“We did that and the goals started to flow.”
Sheran was pleased to see his team complete a tiring week, which has seen them take a draw and two wins from away trips to Brora (1-1) and Fort William (6-0), as well as the Wick game.
He said: “Last Saturday was a big one, it didn’t happen for us and we ended up getting a point.
“Then you’ve got another four-and-a-half hour journey to Fort William to get the result there.
“It was really important with Wick having not played midweek we were fresh and bright.”
With things looking good for a second successive title in the league, Cove now turn their attention briefly to cup action.
They face a Highland League Cup final against north-east rivals Formartine United at Harlaw Park next weekend. Sheran expects another fierce meeting between the sides, who have already picked up one trophy each this term.
They played out a goalless draw when they met on league business last month, and Sheran said: “Over the last few years since I’ve been back (at Cove), we’ve had some amazing battles with Formartine and I’m sure this one will be no different.”
On Saturday, Cove’s scorers were, in order, Martin Scott, Dan Park, Scott Ross and Mitch Megginson (who also had the penalty saved).
The first, soon after half-time, was a Richard Macadie own goal.