A Ryan Gordon goal one minute from full-time ensured Portlethen stayed top of the table and denied Fraserburgh the point they looked destined to gain. Gordon’s goal means Portlethen go five points clear of promotion rivals Fraserburgh who end their 96-mile all round trip to Portlethen empty handed.
Portlethen’s late winner could end up being decisive when the season does come to a close with them, Fraserburgh, Colony Park, Cove, Ellon Meadows and Banchory all fighting for just two promotion spots. The win means Portlethen stay one point clear at the top of the table ahead of Colony Park but the Inverurie side have played three games less. Colony kept the pressure on Portlethen with a 3-1 away victory at Paul Lawrie Foundation Eagles.
The players were joined by an extremely harsh wind at Nicol Park which is guarded by play parks on either side of the pitch and is a haven for dog walkers, even in strong winds. On the pitch were two teams bursting with players who just wanted to take defenders on and go past them but also didn’t shirk a tackle. Despite that combination, chances were few and far between.
The first clear cut chance of the match fell to the hosts. A long kick out from goalkeeper Dylan McBain eluded Fraserburgh’s defence and allowed Jamie McLaughlin to run through on goal and his delicate lob went over goalkeeper Jamie Bruce but bounced wide of goal.
Portlethen were in the ascendency in the first half and looked particularly dangerous from set pieces. They did eventually score from one but it was rightfully chalked off for a foul on the goalkeeper.
Fraserburgh’s best chance of the half came from a set piece. William Third’s free kick from 25 yards was acrobatically tipped wide for a corner by McBain in goal for Portlethen.
Portlethen then came close to breaking the deadlock just before the interval but winger Kyle Dalling could only knock the ball over the crossbar from six yards after good work on the right by substitute Mitchel Greig.