COVE Rangers boss John Sheran praised his players for digging deep to earn a 0-0 draw with Formartine United at Pitmedden in the Breedon Highland League.
John said: "it was a very tough match but feel a draw was the least we deserved.
"We created the best chances, particularly in the second half and feel we could have had a penalty so were disappointed not to win the game.
"But any point at Pitmedden is a welcome one.
"The draw also means we took four points in the two league meetings with Formartine.
"That's a great achievement because they are one of the top sides in the league."
The stalemate means Cove are now two points behind table leaders Brora Rangers, who thrashed struggling Fort William 11-0, as the title race moves towards the final straight, although Cove still have two games in hand.
John admitted he always expected to have to deal with a strong challenge from Brora as they bid to become champions for the second season in a row.
He said: "People were too quick to write off Brora's chances when we made a strong start to the campaign but nobody at Cove could be accused of that.
"The players and I have always anticipated the title race going right to the wire because Brora are a top class side and our league is a highly competitive one.
"We know we are going have to be at our very best in our nine remaining games if we are to get to where we want to be."

Next up for Cove is a home clash with Nairn County on Saturday.
John said: "it will be another tough game, even more so because Nairn will be well rested because they didn't have a midweek fixture."

Cove midfielder Connor Scully is doubtful after suffering a knock at Pitmedden but fellow midfielder Grant Campbell, who had been out injured for close to 11 months, is available again.

Cove Rangers will now play Rothes at Balmoral Stadium this coming Wednesday (6th March) in the Breedon Highland League, 8pm KO.
The scheduled visit to Fort William on that date has been postponed due to anticipated poor weather conditions in the Lochaber area at the start of next week.