BUCKIE Thistle are down by two points in the Highland League title race after being held to a 1-1 draw with Rothes at Victoria Park.
The Speysiders grappled ahead in the 61st minute through Aidan Wilson, but the Jags were level within 60 seconds thanks to Josh Peters.
League leaders Packy applied some pressure late on but was limited to a handful of clear chances by the Rothes’ fluid back-guard.
The gap to second place Brechin City is now nine points, but Angus’ side – who visit Victoria Park on the final day of the season – have four games in hand.
Jags coach Graeme Stewart praised his players for collecting seven of their nine points against Banks OD, Prora Rangers and Rothes.
“We wanted to win, but if we’re offered seven points from those three games, we’ll probably win that,” he said.
“We controlled the game and defended brilliantly, they are a good team and a good coach.
“It was just one of those days when it just didn’t work for us, but there were so many positives.
“I’ve asked the same guys to go to the well three times a week, so I’m proud of them and happy.
“It could be a big point at the end of the season. I hope we go and win the rest of our games and maybe win the league.”
Rothes – who played with five players at the back – made it very difficult for Buckie, who controlled the ball, to find space and create chances in the early stages of the game.
After a losing first quarter of play, Andy MacAskill’s foul try rebounded off the crossbar, before it was coolly tipped back into goalkeeper Sean McCarthy by Rothes finesse captain Michael Vince.
Cohen Ramsey came close to the hosts on the half-hour mark when he played in MacAskill’s elegant pass, but his shot was rebounded by McCarthy.
Josh Peters pocketed Ally Mackenzie a few minutes later before firing a shot that was deflected into a corner.
Buckie started the second half more aggressively, and midfielder Jack Murray almost scored in the 55th minute after making a forward run.
But it was the visitors who took the lead in the 61st minute when Aidan Wilson beat Bucky defender Hamish Monroe before hitting his 16th goal of the season at the near post.
The shot prompted Pukki to life and the hosts leveled within 60 seconds when Josh Peters touched the ball and fired home at the near post.
The Jags nearly completed the turnaround on 68 minutes when Marcus Goodall sent his leg to the ground with a fake shot before letting him fly, but his side effort came too close for McCarthy.
Rothes played well on the counter after halftime and a great leadoff run from Jake Thompson opened up Wilson’s opportunity, but he pulled his shot 20 yards out.
The last chance of the game fell to Andy MacAskill when he caught the end of Peters’ cross in overtime, but he took a touch too many and was blocked.
Ruth’s manager Ross Jacques said: “Looking at the boys we went out with, I was happy by that point.
“Our game plan was to take the game to them and create chances, which we did. I thought we counterattacked very well and totally deserved the point.”
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