Cove Rangers’ dreams of reaching the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup were ended with a 3-1 defeat by Falkirk.
There were two goals inside the opening three minutes with Cove recovering from Alex Jakubiak’s opener to level through Mitch Megginson.
But the Highland League leaders paid the price for a slow start to the second half with Craig Sibbald and Jakubiak both on target for Paul Hartley’s side.
Cove kept creating chances in a spirited display with Megginson going close to pulling a goal back late on.
The match went ahead following an 8.30am pitch inspection at Harlaw Park.
It was a disastrous start for the home side with Lewis Kidd robbing Alan Redford of possession before crossing for Jakubiak to slot home from close range with inside two minutes.
But Cove Rangers equalised within 60 seconds when Ryan Stott picked out Mitch Megginson with an excellent first-time cross and the former Aberdeen and Alloa Athletic forward found the bottom corner with superb precision.
John Sheran’s side grew in confidence after the goal, although the Bairns were next to threaten with Cove goalkeeper Stuart McKenzie comfortably keeping out Louis Longride’s low drive.
The hosts went close to taking the lead after 22 minutes when Falkirk defender Paul Watson almost headed a Stott cross into his own net.
The Championship side were on the back foot now with Harry Milne stinging the palms of Conor Hazard with a fierce drive before Megginson was denied by the on-loan Celtic goalkeeper after 29 minutes.
The Cove forward required treatment soon after following a robust challenge from Watson that went unpunished by referee Alan Muir.
The Highland League leaders continue to take the game to the Bairns with midfielder Grant Campbell fizzing a shot over the crossbar from the edge of the area.
Jamie Masson almost netted in spectacular style on the stroke of half-time when he almost caught out Hazard with a sweetly struck free kick from 45 yards.
Falkirk were dreadful in the first half but they looked a side transformed after the break and netted twice within the opening three minutes of the second period.
Sibbald lashed home a Reghan Tumilty cross from 12 yards within 50 seconds of the restart before Jakubiak raced on to a Rory Loy pass to slot home Falkirk’s third after 48 minutes.
Former Peterhead defender Scott Ross passed up a decent opportunity to reduce the deficit before another former Blue Toon stalwart Ryan Strachan drilled wide from distance.
Bairns substitute Tom Taiwo made a last-ditch block to deny Milne before Eric Watson was thwarted by Hazard.
Megginson nodded wide from a Daniel Park cross as time ran out for the Highland League leaders.