Peterhead manager Jim McInally hailed his players after their crucial 1-0 win over Stirling Albion.
The Blue Toon triumphed at Forthbank with Jamie Stevenson’s strike just after the hour proving decisive.
The result moves the Buchan men three points clear at the top of League Two as they chase the title.
It was an excellent day for McInally’s men. Nearest challengers Montrose had their game at Cowdenbeath postponed.
Stirling are third and 13 points behind Peterhead with two games in hand and fourth-placed Stenhousemuir are now 17 points behind after defeat by Clyde.
Balmoor boss McInally said: “I’m just delighted because playing a team with the momentum they had and the experience they have in their team we knew it would be hard.
“We limited them to really one chance in the second half where they played a great ball across the box and Jamie Stevenson sliced it on to his own crossbar and it bounced out. “Greg Fleming had a couple of mistakes in the first half where he dropped a cross and there was a bit of a melee. But apart from that they never really created a chance. “I thought it was really professional and our experienced players stepped up.
“David McCracken and Simon Ferry in particular were outstanding.
“We lost Russell McLean after 15 minutes when he rolled his ankle.
“The experienced players came in and took it in their stride.
“We just got on with it, nullified the opposition, scored a great goal, but did miss a few chances.
“But all in all it’s a massive result at this stage of the season.”
He added: “It’s the first time this season that we are able to make Montrose chase us which is a fantastic thing.
“It’s a long way back for Stirling Albion, if they win their games in hand we are still seven points ahead of them.
“Stenhousemuir are further behind as well. It’s a big thing psychologically for us because we’ve been chasing Montrose all season and now we’ve reversed that. “So hopefully it puts a bit more pressure on them. It was good day for us that’s for sure.”
The Blue Toon have entered a run of games which could make or break their title hopes.
After facing Stirling they welcome Stenny to Balmoor tomorrow before facing Montrose at Links Park on Saturday.
McInally is pleased to have started that run of with a win and enjoyed the way his side ground out their 1-0 win over Stirling.
He said: “It is pleasing to be able to manage the game and win 1-0. “Especially when you think of who we were missing and who we lost in the game and it says a lot for the squad of players. Everyone has stepped up and that’s the most pleasing thing for me.
“Jason Brown and Jack Leitch were suspended, Rory McAllister wasn’t risked as he’s still coming back from injury. But all three of them could play tomorrow against Stenhousemuir, so it’s all good.”