This Premier Trophy semi-final almost certainly represented Echt’s last route to silverware for the current season, albeit a difficult fixture with visitors Woodside looking increasingly likely to win their first Premier League title and still unbeaten in all local cup competitions.
The opening exchanges were fast and furious with no quarter given or asked for as both sides looked to lay down an early supremacy marker.
The nearest to an early breakthrough came in the 13th minute when Woodside’s Main clipped a fine 30 yard effort onto the face of the Echt crossbar with home keeper Paul Bennett a helpless spectator.
Matthew McDonald cut across the edge of the Woodside box in 23 minutes to fire in a low shot that had visiting custodian Thouless at full stretch to push wide, the free ball was gathered by an Echt player and fired goalwards again but Echt’s appeals for a hand ball decision were waved aside.
P Bennett bravely saved at the feet of Forbes as he was about to pull the trigger in 27 minutes.
An injury to Marc Lawrence forced Echt into a substitution with long term injury absentee Greg Kane the replacement.
An early cross by Jamie Wood, across the face of the Woodside six yard box, only required an Echt touch, but it was a visiting head that was grateful to concede a fruitless corner in 37 minutes.
When Woodside broke at pace down their right Cronin picked out Neil with a crossfield ball that was controlled, and he cut inside his marker and struck goalwards for P Bennett to produce a fine stop.
The visitors had Echt very much on the defensive in the latter stages of the first half and when P Bennett, well off his line, elected to fist clear a high ball, it was lofted back over him but Alan Daun got back to head clear of the danger zone.
Early second half a Cronin cross from the right was hooked goalwards by Forbes but deflected off an Echt shirt and flew over P Bennett’s crossbar.
Echt however stood firm, in defending the flag kick and three others that followed in quick succession as Woodside prodded and prodded for the all important first goal.
Both sets of attackers were finding goal scoring opportunities difficult to come by and either side of the hour mark the game settled into a dour midfield affair.
Scott Aberdein’s strength in the tackle saw him into the visitors box right side but his final low delivery eluded two well placed attacking colleagues.
There was a major let off for Echt in 68 minutes when a forward surge and lay off by Main to Forbes left Bennett to save the day with a fantastic block save.
In 73 minutes Neil hammered a fierce effort from all of 35 yards narrowly over as defiant Echt hung on.
Substitute Kane’s comeback, ended disappointedly in 75 minutes when he had to be replaced by Daniel Peck.
Bennett was back in action diving away to his left to push away a Main grounder and required a lengthy spell of treatment after bravely denying an inrushing Woodside forward a finish on the loose ball.
Daun then produced a magnificent goal-line clearance in 85 mins on a Cronin net bound effort, with Bennett off his line, helpless.
The tenacity of McDonald won Echt a corner in 87 minutes and from Wood’s delivery Peck rose high to head marginally high.
With extra time looking odds on Echt grabbed a sensational winner deep into added time.
Stuart Cooper clipped in a cross from the left, and Scott Aberdein reacted to net with a downward header to the delight of the home touchline.
Echt will now meet Cove Thistle in the final of the Premier Trophy after they overcame Westdyke 3-0.
Echt: Bennett, Daun, Cooper, Douglas, Aberdein, McGillivray, MacLeod, Leith, McDonald, Lawrence, Wood. Subs: Kane, Peck, L Milne, E Robertson, V Roger.