Fraserburgh slumped to a surprise 2-0 defeat over the weekend, their hosts, Inverurie Loco Works, snatching two goals in the final moments of the game to send the Broch back to Bellslea 12 points off the pace of Cove Rangers.
Both teams looked to assert their dominance early on, the midfield of both teams covering a lot of ground as players chased balls, but produced little in terms of goalmouth action for either set of supporters.
Graham Johnston was the first to announce the start of the game with an in-swinging corner which found the head of Steven Main, Main’s effort testing the Inverurie goalkeeper who had to stretch to keep his net empty.
With that chance narrowly missed, the Broch could sense distress in the water and began to tighten their grip on the game, continuing to test the home defence from corner kicks.
Before half-time, one of the Broch’s several set-pieces, delivered by Johnston, was cleared only as far as John Willox, poaching the edge of the area.
With the Locos camped in the box, a long-range effort from Willox looked to be destined for the back of the net before Nicky Gordon, luckily, deflected the shot with his legs.
It was then the turn of Inverurie to threaten, Clark Bain delivering a well measured chip saw Inverurie’s Ross beat the goalkeeper, Ryan Christie conceding a corner after nervy moment for all in attendance.
The Broch continued to press in the second-half, but continued to struggle in front of goal, shades apart from last week’s 5-1 win.
Main and Johnston combined on the left wing early on, Johnston picking up the ball and firing across the goal to see Andy Reid knock the ball wide and away from harm.
Not long after the effort, Inverurie’s Jamie Michie required the stretcher to leave the pitch following a heavy challenge, Ryan Broadhurst coming on for the injured player.
The replacement and game on, Inverurie began to resist the Broch’s attack, Andy Low testing Paul Leask with a 30-yard free-kick, before, minutes later, the Locos looked to have a penalty waved away by the referee, Craig Ross finding himself booked for simulation, the played going down in the box after an alleged clip from a Broch defender.
Johnston continued to cause problems for Inverurie as the half progressed, coming close with an effort from 20-yards out, which whistled just over the bar.
The Broch were left stunned in the final quarter, though, when Clark Bain slammed a volley past Leask after a testing cross.
Inverurie wasted little time in finding a second, Craig Ross seeing his shot sent wide for a corner, which, in turn, saw Jack Strachan with all the time in the world to chip and then blast the ball into the top right.
The Broch, now 12 points adrift of Cove Rangers, but with games in hand over them, will now need a string of positive results to keep up with the top-half of the table.
Inverurie, meanwhile, themselves a game ahead of the Broch, find themselves in fifth place.
With a positive goal difference telling the story of where Fraserbrugh deserve to be placed in the table, the arrival of mid-table Huntle to Bellslea will be perfect opportunity for Kris Hunter to get the Broch back up to speed in the Highland League.