Fraserburgh’s Sean Butcher was gutted to lose to Brora Rangers and admitted their Highland League title challenge may be over.
The Cattachs came from behind to win 2-1 at Bellslea with Paul Brindle netting the winner in stoppage time.
Butcher had fired the Broch ahead early in the second half, but defeat means the Buchan outfit are now 20 points behind the leaders, although they do have four games in hand.
Striker Butcher said: “Frustrating is an understatement really when you look back at the game.
“After the game the boys came in devastated. We’ve put everything into training and games week after week to try to challenge.
“It came down to this game and for 50 minutes up until we score we were probably playing them off the park.
“Then they get the penalty and score and it changed the game and Brora were in the ascendancy.
“We were throwing boys forward at the end because we were trying to win the game.
“It was tough to take and the boys were broken after the game.
“The title is probably beyond us now.
“But all we can do is keep winning games and try to get into second.
“Every week we’ll try to win and see where that takes us.
“We had a good start to the season and we’ve won two cups which was great. But as players you aim to put in a challenge for the league.
“In the two games against Brora we’ve been as good if not better than them (Fraserburgh won 1-0 at Dudgeon Park), but they’ve been more consistent in other games and they keep getting results.
“It showed on Saturday at 1-0 they dug in and came out with the result so they deserve credit for that.”
It wasn’t just the result that was painful for Butcher as he was forced off with a knee problem shortly after the hour mark.
The 25-year-old added: “I’m not sure what happened, we went into a 50-50 and the Brora player’s trailing stud clipped my knee.
“The physio doesn’t think it will be too bad so I’ll wait and see.”
At a breezy Bellslea the best first-half effort was Fraserburgh’s Ryan Sargent volleying wide, while for Brora a Dale Gillespie free-kick flashed past, but the Broch were in front on 48 minutes.
After a sustained spell of pressure the Cattachs failed to clear and BUTCHER forced the ball home from six yards.
The lead lasted five minutes with Owen Cairns pulling down Brindle in the box and Dale GILLESPIE converted from the penalty spot.
Fraserburgh pushed bodies forward in search of the winner as the second period wore on, which left them vulnerable to the counter-attack. Brora sub James Wallace shot straight at Paul Leask when clean through, but in the second minute of injury time BRINDLE raced through and finished calmly.
Broch boss Mark Cowie said: “We had to win so we pushed for it and they got us on the break with the second goal.
“We couldn’t afford to draw so we went for it.
“I think it was a penalty, Owen Cairns got caught.
“I felt my defenders should have covered across better but once Paul Brindle’s in the box it’s a penalty.
“I thought the referee (Mat Northcroft) did a good job.”