Fraserburgh boss Mark Cowie felt his side were a “different class” as they reached the Aberdeenshire Shield semi-finals at a snowy Kynoch Park.
The Broch came from behind to beat Keith 3-1 in the last eight and secure a home tie with either Buckie Thistle or Formartine United.
That the game was played was remarkable. Although the pitch beat the frost, snow started falling heavily half an hour before kick-off. But after the lines had been swept referee Mat Northcroft started the game and, shortly after the first whistle, the wintry showers abated.
Cowie said: “Firstly, Mat the referee deserves credit for getting the game on. It was great to get it on and I think a lot of refs might have come up and said ‘game off’.
“But the pitch was soft underneath, there was only a wee covering of frost.
“Then the snow came before kick-off and it looked like we wouldn’t get a game but, fair play to Mat, he got it on.
“I think for 65-70 minutes we were different class. In the whole of the first half I thought we were strong and put them under pressure.
“It’s probably the best we’ve played in a long time, and that was in difficult conditions.
“For whatever reason, second half we hit a lull. It was maybe tiredness because there were a few guys who hadn’t played much lately on the pitch and they maybe felt it.
“That gave Keith a sniff, but if it wasn’t for their keeper it could have been more because we created a lot of chances and we’re delighted to get through and have a home tie in the next round.”
The Broch’s strikers Andrew Hannar and Scott Barbour caused problems throughout and both got on the scoresheet.
Cowie added: “Andrew’s only 18 but he’s a similar build to Scott Barbour. They’re both strong, stocky players and they combined well.
“He was outstanding for the Under-20s for 45 minutes on Monday night before the game was abandoned.
“He deserved his chance and at this club if you do well at training and in Under-20 games you’ll get a chance.”
Keith took the lead on five minutes when Ross County loanee Gregor MacDonald’s 25-yard shot was parried by Paul Leask and Michael SELFRIDGE scored the rebound.
Maroons goalie Greig Simpson made a number of impressive saves to deny Fraserburgh across the 90 minutes, but was powerless to prevent them scoring in the 34th minute when Paul Young’s shot fell for HANNAR to net from close range.
Shortly before the interval BARBOUR forced home Ross Willox’s cross-cum-shot to make it 2-1, and six minutes into the second period Barbour set-up Owen CAIRNS to drill home from the right side of the area.
Keith manager Dean Donaldson said: “We got a good start in conditions that were tricky for both teams.
“Ideally I would have wanted the game off because we’ve picked up a few injuries for Saturday’s game with Lossiemouth.
“Grant Thomson, Ryan Robertson and Gregor MacDonald are all struggling. The difference between the teams was ball retention, the Broch punished us with the ball.”
Last night’s other quarter-final ties between Buckie Thistle and Formartine United at Victoria Park and Huntly and Turriff United at Christie Park were postponed due to frost.