Rothes came from behind to defeat Formartine United 2-1 after extra-time in the Highland League Cup semi-final.
Goals from Ali Sutherland and Craig Cormack won it for the Speysiders after Daniel Park had put United in front at North Lodge Park.
It’s the first cup final Rothes have reached since the 2010 Highland League Cup final.
The Moray side will face Brora Rangers or Buckie Thistle in next weekend’s final as they seek their first piece of silverware since the North of Scotland Cup in season 1978-79.
Rothes were first to threaten with Allen MacKenzie’s run and cross from the left finding Ali Sutherland whose shot from just inside the box was turned behind by home goalkeeper Kevin Main. From Alan Pollock’s corner that followed Craig Cormack glanced a header wide.
The Speysiders carved out an even better opportunity on 18 minutes. Sutherland found Gary Kerr on the right side of the area, the striker skipped out of a challenge and worked Main with an angled strike which the goalkeeper parried before Fraser Robertson lifted the rebound over from close range.
Formartine’s first decent opening came from a quick free-kick midway through the first period, but Conor Gethins jabbed Stuart Smith’s low cross from the left narrowly wide of the front post.
This was the sides’ first competitive outing since Rothes beat Formartine 2-0 at Mackessack Park on March 7 although you would hardly have known it given the sharpness of both sets of players.
Early in the second period it was only a well-time last-ditch sliding challenge from Bruce Milne that stopped Daniel Park getting a shot off.
But it continued to be a tight and hard fought encounter, which with so much at stake was understandable.
The breakthrough arrived for Formartine 20 minutes from time.
A low ball into Garry Wood’s feet allowed the striker to set up Park to drill a low shot into the bottom left corner from 20 yards.
Shortly after the goal McCarthy made a good save to keep the deficit as one after a good swivel and shot from Graeme Rodger inside the box.
With little under quarter of an hour left Scott Lisle broke through after combining with fellow sub Jonny Smith down the left, but Lisle took too long to shot and Alasdair Stark got back to clear.
McCarthy kept Rothes hopes alive with another fine save five minutes from time as he clawed away Jonny Crawford’s downward header from Park’s free-kick.
And a minute later the Speysiders equalised. Sub Ross Gunn’s deflected cross from the right was flicked on for Craig Cormack and he laid the ball back for Sutherland to guide home a low left-foot shot from 16 yards.
Straight after the goal Sutherland had another chance following Darryn Kelly’s slip, but Main got down well to hold the shot from the edge of the area.
Then in a frantic final minute Cormack sent Sutherland clear again down the right, but again Main did well to parry the fierce angled drive and at the other end Andrew Greig broke into the box and McCarthy did well to block with his foot at the front post.
In stoppage time Gunn lashed a shot into the side-netting, but extra-time was required.
Just two minutes into extra-time the tie was turned on its head as Rothes took the lead.
Gunn had made an impact since coming off the bench and his through ball put Cormack in behind, as Formartine appealed for offside, Cormack kept his cool and slotted the ball beyond the advancing Main from the right side of the area.
Rodger went close to an equaliser for United, but side-footed wide from Greig’s cutback and Cormack worked Main again with a curling effort at the other end.
In the second period of extra-time McCarthy did well to clutch a snap-shot from Rodger, while Rothes continued to be a danger on the counter-attack with Cormack’s pace and hold-up play difficult for Formartine to deal with.
The home side threw bodies forward in the closing stages, but Rothes held on.
Formartine United – Main, Crawford, McKeown, Kelly, S Smith; Park, Rodger, S Anderson (J Smith 63), Norris; Gethins (Greig 63), Wood (Lisle 75).
Subs not used – Strachan, Lawrence, C Anderson, Ellis.
Rothes – S McCarthy, Stark, Milne, Johnstone; Cormack, Pollock, Brown (Gunn 79), Robertson, MacKenzie; Sutherland, Kerr (Maley).
Subs not used – Neil, Anderson, D McCarthy.