FORRES Mechanics produced a sensational comeback from 4-1 down to knock leaders Buckie Thistle out of the Highland League Cup.
In a thrilling tie at Victoria Park, the teams drew 4-4 before Cans progressed in a penalty shoot-out.
Forres boss Charlie Rowley said he was “very proud” of his team’s stunning revival when the game looked beyond his side.
Buckie manager Graeme Stewart felt decisions went against his side, including a penalty kick and two red cards shown to home players.
Buckie defender Shaun Wood fired his team into a third minute lead which was cancelled out by John Cameron’s 18th minute leveller.
Forres then had Martin Groat sent off midway through the first half for an off-the-ball incident with Buckie’s Craig Cowie.
In the second half Jags seemed to blow Forres away with a three-goal burst in five minutes.
Wood stroked home his second, Craig Dorrat headed home soon after and John McLeod’s 38th goal of the season seemed to kill the tie.
McLeod missed a superb chance to make it 5-1 after rounding the keeper, and instead Mechanics hit back in determined fashion.
With Caley Thistle loan teenager Andy Macrae impressing on his debut from the bench, the visitors got a penalty which Soane converted on the hour.
Cameron had a goal disallowed for offside before Buckie were also reduced to ten men for Lewis Mackinnon’s second bookable offence when he pulled back Macrae.
From the resulting free kick Lee Fraser nodded in Simon Allan’s cross on 65 minutes.
Eleven minutes later Soane nodded a Macrae ball across for Cameron to level the scores with a header.
The tie went into extra time and neither side could add to their tally, but Buckie went down to nine men when keeper Daniel Bell left his penalty area to foul Fraser and was shown a straight red.
In the shoot-out, Buckie’s Shaun Carrol and Ceiran McLean both struck the bar while Forres scored all four of their kicks, with Cameron scoring the decisive penalty.
Manager Rowley said: “It was a great advert for Highland League football.
“I’m lost for words. It’s hard to sum up in a game of such importance where we’ve managed to come away and beat possibly the title this year on their home patch, their first defeat here this year.
“All-in-all I’m really proud of the players’ efforts.”
Buckie boss Graeme Stewart felt his team was hard done by with both red cards and the penalty decision, given against Hamish Munro for a foul on Ross Macpherson.
“For Daniel Bell’s sending off, if that’s anywhere else in the park it’s a booking. We had three players covering to get the ball and he (the referee) admitted that but he still sent him off.”
It was Buckie’s second straight defeat following the 2-1 league loss at Brora a week earlier.
Forres go through to the quarter-finals where they will host Cove Rangers, who won 4-2 against a Lossiemouth side welcoming new boss Bobby Beckwith to his first match.
A Ross Archibald goal cancelled out Cove’s early opener but the Aberdonians restored their advantage before half time.
Defender Chris Ross squared it for Lossie and it remained 2-2 going into the closing five minutes before Cove struck twice.
Rothes’ tie at home to Formartine United was postponed and will now go ahead on Wednesday, with the winners at home to Clach or Fort William in the quarter-finals.
Title contenders Brora thrashed Inverurie 8-0 and now visit Huntly who beat Fraserburgh 2-1.
Turriff were 1-0 winners at Wick to earn an away tie at Deveronvale or Nairn.
In the SPFL, Elgin City were held to a 1-1 draw away to leaders Forfar Athletic with Brian Cameron scoring a second half equaliser.
Both teams had a player sent off, with Elgin’s on-loan Ross County stopper David Brownlie their red card offender.