Cove Rangers failed in their bid to reach the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup for the first time in the club’s history but they gave Paul Hartley’s Falkirk an almighty scare at Harlaw Park, Inverurie.
On-loan Watford striker Alex Jakubiak put the Bairns in front inside two minutes but Mitch Megginson restored parity within 60 seconds.
From there, the Highland League side bossed the first half and only some fine goalkeeping from Falkirk stopper Conor Hazard kept Hartley’s side level.
But all of Cove’s hard work came undone in the first three minutes of the second half as goals from Craig Sibbald and Jakubiak gave the Bairns control of the tie.
John Sheran’s men fought hard until the end but were unable to net the second goal that would have set up a pulsating finale.
But it was a riveting watch for the 1,687 supporters who made the trip to Inverurie with the Highland leaders doing their league proud.
There had been some doubt whether the match would even be on with the tie getting the go-ahead after an 8.30am pitch inspection.
More than 800 Falkirk fans helped create a feisty atmosphere and the travelling support were celebrating inside two minutes when Lewis Kidd robbed Alan Redford of possession before crossing for Jakubiak to slot home from close range.
A disastrous start for Cove Rangers but they equalised quickly.
Ryan Stott created the opening with a smart first-time cross for Megginson who displayed great awareness and accuracy to find the bottom corner.
The goal settled Cove and they started to pass the ball with confidence and it began to look like they were the team playing three divisions higher.
The Highland League leaders were firmly in control and looked to turn their dominance into a goal with Harry Milne stinging the palms of Hazard with a fierce drive before Megginson was denied by the on-loan Celtic goalkeeper.
After midfielder Grant Campbell fizzed an effort over the crossbar from the edge of the area, Jamie Masson almost netted in spectacular style on the stroke of half-time when his sweetly-struck free kick from 45 yards almost caught out Hazard.
Falkirk were nothing short of dreadful in the first half but they looked transformed after the break and netted twice within the opening three minutes of the second period.
Sibbald ruthlessly lashed home a cross from on-loan Caley Thistle player Reghan Tumilty from 12 yards within 50 seconds of the restart before Jakubiak surged on to a Rory Loy pass to net Falkirk’s third after 48 minutes.
That was game over but Cove continued to threaten with Scott Ross and Ryan Strachan both shooting wide, while 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 a memorable Scottish Cup run came to an end for the Highland League leaders.