Echt manager Mike Robertson remained “upbeat” despite seeing his side crash to a last minute 4-3 defeat to fierce rivals Cove Thistle in the Aberdeen Trophy Centre Premier Trophy.
Robertson said his players should be “proud” of their performance in what was a “marvellous” game of football.
He said: “The boys played their hearts out but Cove Thistle went on to show why they are the cup team of this year’s amateur season.”
Echt were on an impressive run of form coming into the match, defeating in form Woodside to reach the final of the prestigious trophy, contested by all Premier Division clubs.
The Aberdeenshire side’s intentions soon became clear as they used the pace of Marc Lawrence and Jamie Wood to strike terror into the Jags defence. Lawrence whipped a teasing ball into the box for Greg Kane to make no mistake from 10 yards.
Wood was then able to play in defender Alan Douglas and his header squirmed through the hands of Derek McKenzie and in off the far post.
The atmosphere was a mixture of the tense and triumphal as Echt’s continuous onslaught of pressure snatched them a third goal.
Fittingly, Echt’s Jamie Wood was at the centre of the move as his ferocious free kick picked out Matthew McDonald who calmly slotted the ball into the net to stun the Jags faithful.
Cove looked down and out until Lee Gabriel lofted a high ball into the Echt six yard box and James Fettes pounced with an unstoppable header from the edge of the area.
Echt manager Mike Robertson increasingly looked like a frustrated figure as his side’s sudden drop in play gifted Thistle their second goal before half time.
A typical forceful run from Craig Wilson gave him the opportunity to play in Martin Craig who dually delivered with a bullet header that rifled into the back of the net.
Despite Cove’s first half pressure, Echt still created chances and went close after Jamie Wood unleashed a strike that stung the palms of McKenzie in goal.
Cove were soon pouring forward time after time, probing Echt’s nervous defence in search of an equaliser which came on 75 minutes.
A free kick was conceded dangerously close to the Echt box and it was Paul Gill who confidently stepped up to loop an exquisite strike over the wall leaving Paul Bennett with no chance.
Thistle’s winner came on 85 minutes when the prolific Craig Wilson thumped a left footed shot into the corner of the net to leave Echt’s manager Mike Robertson and their supporters in disbelief.