Formartine United midfielder Graeme Rodger admitted his side had goalkeeper Kevin Main to thank for keeping their hopes of a fourth successive Highland League Cup final alive.
Rodger curled home a 79th-minute winner to help United to a 1-0 victory against Inverurie Locos at North Lodge Park and set up a second round tie against Forres Mechanics at Mosset Park.
Formartine have reached the final of the competition for three years in a row with a 2-1 victory against Fraserburgh in 2018 sandwiched between two defeats to Cove Rangers.
Rodger said: “It was a very close game and Inverurie probably created the better chances.
“Kevin Main was our star man. He made three or four saves when Inverurie were through one-on-one.
“It was a very close encounter between two evenly-matched sides and we are glad to come out on top. It felt like an important win as we have been on a terrible run of form.”
Rodger says the victory will give his side plenty of belief heading into Saturday’s Scottish Cup tie against Lowland League side East Kilbride at North Lodge Park.
He said: “It is a big game so hopefully we get a decent crowd and get through to the next round.
“They won the Lowland League last year but have been struggling a bit this year and their manager Stuart Malcolm just left to take over at Forfar.
“They may have a new manager in place for Saturday which would give them a lift.
“It is going to be a hard game but it is also an opportunity to get into the fourth round, which is where every Highland League club wants to be.”
Inverurie Locos boss Andy Low will also turn his attention to the Scottish Cup ahead of Saturday’s visit of East of Scotland League side Broxburn Athletic, who knocked out Cowdenbeath in the previous round.
Low said: “We have been on a good run and I reminded the players that after the Formartine game on Saturday.
“I have been down to watch Broxburn and I’m expecting a tough game.
“It is a game we can win.
“They are a very good side as they showed by drawing with Cowdenbeath at Central Park and then beating them 3-0 in the replay.
“They are a good side but so are we.”