Fraserburgh manager Mark Cowie praised his side’s resilience as they came from behind to see off Banks o’ Dee to progress to the third round of the Scottish Cup.
But the Broch boss admitted he felt a sense of disappointment that Bellslea Park was empty for an enthralling cup tie.
Michael Philipson put the Aberdeen juniors in front nine minutes into the second half but Scott Barbour headed home the equaliser before Jamie Beagrie scrambled home the winner 10 minutes from time.
Cowie said: “It was a great game.
“Ever since the draw was made, I thought that would be the case.
“I have made no secret of my admiration for Banks o’ Dee. They are a very good side who could easily challenge in the Highland League with the quality of players they have at their disposal.
“We knew they were going to make life difficult for us.
“I didn’t think we started the game well but we were defensively solid and we didn’t give much away.
“We scored 13 goals the previous week but we didn’t look as threatening in attack.
“They scored which changed the game as we got a kick from that and reacted well.
“As soon as play restarted we went right down to the other end and could have equalised straight away.
“From then, I thought we were the better side and finished the game strongly.
“Even at 2-1 up I thought we looked more likely to get the next goal.
“We are delighted to make it through to the next round.”
Fraserburgh’s decision to invest in pitch covers after their Scottish Cup tie against top flight Rangers three years ago helped ensure the match passed an early morning inspection on a day when 12 of the 20 scheduled ties fell victim to the wintry weather.
The Broch went into the game brimming with confidence following their 13-1 thumping of Turriff United but the hosts knew the Spain Park side, who have dominated the North Region junior scene in recent seasons, would provide a tough examination.
— Fraserburgh FC (@FraserburghFC) January 9, 2021
Dee arrived at Bellslea knowing the tie could be their final competitive fixture for a while if they were to lose.
The North Region Junior Football Association voted last week to put the season on hold until at least February 6, although the Highland League could be set to follow suit this evening.
There was plenty of determination and tough tackling in a feisty first half but little in the way of goalmouth action.
Dee defender Neale Allan prevented Paul Campbell from an early sight of goal with a timely interception before Philipson’s deflected effort was clawed away by Broch stopper Paul Leask at the other end.
Willie West registered the home side’s first shot on target but his low effort was comfortably gathered by Lee Sweeney and the Dee goalkeeper displayed some quick-thinking moments later to prevent Campbell turning home Lewis Duncan’s cleverly disguised pass with an unorthodox sliding tackle.
The visitors had passed up another chance to break the deadlock three minutes before the interval when Craig Duguid’s corner fell for Mark Gilmour but Leask saved well.
The hosts charged up the other end and had a chance of their own but right back Owen Cairns failed to connect from a promising position after some superb wing play by Barbour.
The opener arrived after 54 minutes when Philipson reacted quickest to stab home the loose ball after Leask could only parry Jack Henderson’s low drive.
The hosts almost restored parity immediately but Sweeney produced an excellent stop to thwart Lewis Duncan.
The Broch, stung by falling behind, upped the ante and restored parity after 71 minutes when substitute Gary Harris crossed for Barbour to head home from two yards out.
Harris was denied by Sweeney but the Broch finally got the second goal in the dying embers.
Lewis Duncan’s effort may have crossed the line before being blocked by a Dee defender in a packed penalty box but Beagrie made no mistake when the ball rolled back into his path as the hosts booked their spot in round three.
Cowie said: “I wasn’t bothered who scored but Jamie was claiming it so we will give it to him.
“It’s difficult as there are so many bodies in there.
“We don’t have VAR so we couldn’t tell if the initial shot was over the line.
“There was no dubiety when Jamie put it in.
“The one thing I would say was that I thought the referee and his assistants handled the game unbelievably well.
“Sometimes the officials don’t get the credit they deserve because they are a big part of the game.
“They got every decision spot on which helped the game flow between two competitive teams.
“The one pity was nobody was in here to watch a game like that.
“I hope the live stream we had of the game worked well but Bellslea would have been buzzing.
“The atmosphere would have been brilliant because we were hungry and we were going for the win.
“We know that day will come and the fans will be back.
“It is just a matter of when it is safe to do it.
“We want them back as quick as possible.”