Fraserburgh United, in their third outing in the Grill League Cup, faced leaders Maud at College Park last Tuesday.
With a couple of poor performances and defeats in the week, hopes were not high as they took on a revitalised Maud that has been transformed during the close season with the signings of a number of local Highland League players.
However, there were plenty of positives to take from the game.
Davey Ross returned to defence with David Innes unavailable due to work commitments, whilst Steven Lawrence stepped in for the injured Iain Bisset for United.
Unsurprisingly for a derby, the game kicked off at a ferocious pace and both teams scored in the opening five minutes.
The Broch took the lead on four minutes, when Ritchie and Lawrence combined to send Watt clear in the box. He drew Maud keeper Bruce before firing into the far top corner to give United a shock lead.
The advantage barely lasted 60 seconds, though, as Maud immediately pushed forward with Hale forcing a corner which he then whipped in to the Broch box where Simpson broke away from his marker to head in from six yards.
The game continued at solid pace, Maud’s Bremner fired in a wicked cross that found no takers.
Dunbar in the Broch goal then showed good hands to pluck the ball off the head of Lynch with the striker looking certain to score.
The half drew to a close with parity reigning.
The second-half kicked off with Maud pressing forward and they almost took the lead on 48 minutes.
A misplaced header in the Broch midfield saw Morrice burst clear, but Reid showed searing pace to get in a tackle as Morrice shot. Dunbar saved superbly, but referee Davdison brought play back deeming Reid’s tackle a foul and booking the perplexed full back.
Hale stepped up to curl a beautiful free-kick that beat Dunbar, but it cannoned off the inside of the post and back along the goal line to Morrice who skied his effort from 10-yards.
On 76mins United replaced the excellent Lawrence with Falconer and he almost put United in front when he beat Bruce to a through ball but his chipped attempt skimmed the bar.
With the game looking to be heading to a draw Maud took the lead.
On 88 minutes substitute Fraser whipped in a great cross to the edge of the six-yard box, Hale slipping the attentions of Downie to flick the ball past Dunbar to huge celebrations in the Maud support.
United had not given up and should have drawn level on 90 minutes. Smith cut the ball back to Falconer whose shot from 20-yards deflected into the path of Rollo who sent the ball into the roof of the net only to be given offside.
Manager Sim spoke afterwards: “Two silly mistakes have cost us again. It’s been the same in both our previous games. However, the performance was much improved and we can definitely build on this...”