With seven games left to play, Banks o’ Dee are now just one win away from retaining their McBookie.com Superleague title.
They reached that position after getting the better of nearest challengers Bridge of Don Thistle at Aberdeen Sports Village.
The Jags started the game strongly and took the lead after five minutes when a long throw found Lewis SHAND, who drilled the ball home from a tight angle past Andy Shearer.
The early setback seemed to galvanise the champions and they levelled seven minutes later when an Alan White free-kick was met by the head of Mark GILMOUR, whose powerful downwards effort made it one apiece.
The visitors got in front from the penalty spot on 27 minutes after Luke Barbour was adjudged to have been fouled in the box, the prolific Jack HENDERSON making no mistake from 12 yards.
The first half ended with no further scoring and, shortly after the restart, White had the ball in the Thistle net with a back post header only to have the effort chalked off for offside.
A third goal for the Spain Park side was only delayed, however, and on 58 minutes, Gilmour and Jamie Buglass combined to set up Lachie McLeod who unselfishly knocked the ball to HENDERSON for a simple tap-in.
With 12 minutes remaining the Jags pulled one back when, following a throw-in, the ball ricocheted off a defender, falling nicely for Max ALEXANDER to rifle an excellent shot past Shearer from 20 yards.
Dee co-manager Tommy Forbes knows while it is still mathematically possible for the champions to be caught, the title is tantalisingly close.
“Saturday was a game that we knew would be tough,” he said.
“They’re the best team we’ve played and they’ve brought in half a dozen good players who have made a big difference.
“For a good, competitive Superleague we need teams to push us.
“I think the likes of Culter and Dyce will be stronger next season, while Montrose and Nairn are never easy places to go. We still need to win at Maud this weekend – they had a good win on Saturday and are still fighting for their lives, so it’ll be tough.
“The grass pitches are quite fiery at this stage of the season and we’re not able to be as free flowing as we are at home.
“But it would be nice to wrap up the league as we’ve still got three cup quarter-finals to look forward to, starting tomorrow when Stoneywood Parkvale visit us in the North Regional Cup (kick-off 7.45pm).
“We had 19 players available on Saturday, so we’ll freshen things up, although it looks like Greg Alexander misses out due to work commitments.”