BUCKIE sent out a stunning message to the Highland League that they are serious contenders with a 3-2 win over champions Cove Rangers in a thrilling game at Christie Park on Wednesday night.
A mix of scintillating football followed by a gritty rearguard action secured their sixth straight win in the league.
The Jags surged into a three goal lead inside 32 minutes but had to cling on in the second half as Cove mounted a terrific fightback.
Buckie took the lead after 15 minutes when Jay Cheyne’s through ball released Chris Angus who provided a calm finish to slide the ball under Stuart McKenzie.
It took them just two minutes to extend their advantage when another Cheyne ball landed at the feet of John McLeod inside the box and when his effort was blocked, the ball fell to Angus who rattled in a low shot.
The game swung from end to end and Cove came close when Mitch Megginson glanced a header inches wide off a Jonny Smith free-kick and then Greig Sim made a smart save to deny Smith from close range.
Buckie stunned the champions in the 32nd minute when a lovely move saw Sam Urquhart, Kevin Fraser and Angus combine to set up Cheyne inside the box and he cut inside a defender before beating McKenzie at his near post with a fierce shot.
Cove looked stunned and rattled but they responded like champions and within two minutes had secured a foothold back in the game when Megginson was downed in the box by Lewis Mackinnon and the striker smashed the penalty home.
They looked to have added a second a minute before the break when Smith’s whipped free-kick was headed home by Harry Milne, but he was deemed offside.
Cove started the second half on the front foot and after 57 minutes Stuart Duff’s free kick was headed goalwards by Milne and his looping effort evaded the desperate grasp of Sim.
McLeod header over at the other end moments later as Buckie counter attacked in great fashion.
The last 30 minutes saw Cove drive towards the Buckie goal and the Jags were forced to dig deep to repel the ‘home’ side.
Cove should have levelled nine minutes from the end when a great pass from Connor Scully set up sub Ryan Stott inside the box but with just Sim to beat he flashed a shot high and wide.
Stuart Walker then miscued a close range header as Cove stepped up the pressure.
Sim gave his team-mates a scare when he came for a cross in added time but missed it and Scully’s shot was deflected over for a corner.
Cove keeper McKenzie surged forward for a late corner but Buckie held on for the win and extended their lead at the top of the table to three points.
Cove: McKenzie, Yule, Milne, Walker, Watson, Kelly, Scully, Duff (Burnett 77), Megginson (Buchan 71), Smith, McCulloch (Stott 34). Not used: McBain, McCafferty.
Buckie: Sim, Wood, MacKinnon, Munro, Dorrat, Cheyne (Taylor 71), K Fraser, McLean, McLeod (Copeland 80), Angus, Urquhart. Not used: MacRae, Low, J Fraser, Carrol, Strong.