Fraserburgh manager Mark Cowie always believed his players could recover from their nightmare start after their stunning comeback secured a 5-3 triumph over Brechin City.
The Highland League leaders reversed a three-goal deficit after 22 minutes to triumph against a City side who finished the match with nine men.
After Paul Young had pulled one back, Max Kucheriavyi’s dismissal on the stroke of half-time gave Fraserburgh a numerical advantage before Sean Butcher pulled another goal back.
Fraserburgh were still trailing after 88 minutes, with two Scott Barbour penalties and an Iain Davidson own goal securing a vital three points.
The result moves the Broch five points clear at the top of the table.
Cowie paid tribute to the character of his side, and he said: “Our start couldn’t have been any worse. Defensively we were a bit all over the shop, we couldn’t control Garry Wood up front.
“Getting the goal to make it 3-1, and the sending off, changed it in our favour again and we made a couple of changes.
“There are not a lot of teams that could do what we have done. We are capable of it, it was just a case of being patient and keeping the ball moving.
“Even if they had 11 players on the park I was still confident we could get something, because that’s the spirit and fight my team has got. Not many teams will come here and win games – let alone score five.”
A win for Brechin would have levelled them on points with the Broch, making the Bellslea side’s victory all the more valuable.
Cowie is remaining grounded, however, adding: “I said before the game that one team would be three points better off or maybe a share, but nothing would be decided.
“There’s a long way to go. It’s difficult not to get carried away after a game like that, the guys will be buzzing to say the least.
“We have built a squad capable of challenging for things, but we have to get our feet back on the ground.”
Brechin took the lead on eight minutes when Kieran Inglis’s cross was met by the head of Willie West, who only succeeded in flicking the ball beyond Paul Leask.
The hosts doubled the lead from the spot six minutes later when Cameron Ross was felled inside the box by Jamie Beagrie, with Inglis stepping up to send Leask the wrong way.
The Angus outfit struck once again on 22 minutes when Lyall Booth’s effort was blocked into the path of Garry Wood, who hammered low past Leask from 16 yards.
Barbour hit the post on the half-hour mark with a first-time volley, however, the Broch did pull a goal back two minutes later when Young’s header carried too much power for goalkeeper Jack Wills to keep out.
Fraserburgh were handed another boost three minutes before the break when Kucheriavyi was dismissed for catching Ryan Cowie with a late challenge which was deemed to be high by referee Robin Taylor.
The visitors set up a tense finish when they grabbed their second goal on 66 minutes, with Wills again unable to prevent a Butcher header from finding the net.
The game was level on 88 minutes, with Booth penalised for bringing down Aitken inside the box. Barbour stepped up and blasted high past Wills to level the scoring.
Fraserburgh were even more jubilant four minutes into stoppage time, with Aitken’s header deflecting off Davidson and beyond Wills to put them in front for the first time.
They then added a further goal three minutes later after Davidson was red carded for bringing down Barbour inside the box, with the striker stepping up to fire home his second on a memorable day for the Broch.
Brechin boss Andy Kirk felt the dismissal of Kucheriavyi had a major bearing on the match.
Kirk said: “The game changed with the sending off. For me, it was not a red card, but Max has got to learn that he gives the referee a decision to make.
“It did affect the game as, if we had 11 players on the pitch, I believe we would have created chances.
“When we went 3-0 up, I don’t know if we thought we had won the game at that stage, but scorelines like that are always difficult. We allowed Fraserburgh into the game and then had Max sent off.
“It was not the work-rate, it was the decisions in crucial moments that cost us goals. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves as there are still a lot of points up for grabs.”