Fraserburgh assistant manager James Duthie hailed his battlers after they reached the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup final with a dramatic penalty shootout win over Buckie Thistle.
Ten-man Broch were leading through Paul Campbell at Victoria Park, but Kieran Simpson’s own goal in injury time made it 1-1, forcing spot-kicks with the visitors triumphing 6-5 after both sides had taken nine penalties.
Fraserburgh face Formartine United in the Shire Cup final at Cove’s Balmoral Stadium on Friday October 4 after a shootout full of drama.
Paul Young had the chance to win it but hit the bar and when goalie Paul Leask hit the Broch’s eighth penalty over the top with the score 5-5, it looked like they may be defeated.
But the keeper saved from Kevin Fraser before Jamie Beagrie scored and Kieran Adams missed to give Fraserburgh victory.
Duthie, who is No 2 to Mark Cowie, said: “It was an unbelievable effort from us being down to 10 men and playing two up front and being brave.
“I was so disappointed with the goal we lost, Kieran Simpson was outstanding all night in the air but that one came off him and went in the net.
“The reaction was brilliant. They’re a great bunch of players and when you work as hard as they do you deserve a few breaks and I thought over the piece we deserved it.
“We practised penalties on Monday at training and Paul Leask didn’t miss one, so when he stepped up I was pretty confident.
“After Monday they were all confident and I had plenty of players wanting to take penalties and that was what we needed.
“Missing is something that can happen and Paul redeemed himself by saving the next one. Before that, we had a chance to win and Paul Young hit the bar. Penalties are a lottery but I felt over the 90 minutes we deserved it.”
The Broch were down to 10 men just before half-time with Michael Rae given a straight red card for an alleged stamp on Fraser.
Duthie added: “I didn’t see it but it’s not in Michael Rae’s character to stamp on anybody. It’s the referee’s call and we shrugged it off, changed our shape and the players executed the plan perfectly.”
The best chance of the first period saw Rae hack Shaun Carrol’s volley off the line, while at the other end Daniel Bell clawed away Scott Barbour’s 30-yard drive.
On 51 minutes the Broch were ahead when a Ryan Cowie free-kick from the right was bundled home by CAMPBELL from close range.
Against 10 men, Buckie exerted pressure but Fraserburgh also had chances on the counter-attack.
When it looked like the Buchan side would hang on, SIMPSON headed into his own net in stoppage time after a spell of Jags pressure.
In the shootout, Scott Graham was denied by Leask and Scott Adams skied his effort for Buckie with Willie West and Young hitting the bar which forced sudden death.