Relief was the emotion felt most by Sunderland RCA manager Martin Swales in the aftermath of their FA Vase First Round win against Bridlington Town.
The Northern Counties East club have been the scourge of Northern League sides in the recent past, but came unstuck with a 3-2 defeat in a titanic clash at Meadow Park.
It was the visitors that went ahead on 13 minutes with a goal from Andy Norfolk, but a Colin Larkin penalty and a Nathan O’Neill strike put RCA ahead at half-time.
Jake Day’s second-half goal sent the tie into extra-time, although Colin Larkin wasted the chance to finish the game in normal-time when his penalty was saved by Bridlington keeper Tom Jackson.
But RCA finally saw off their visitors as Mark Davison volleyed a winner five minutes from the end of extra-time and helped his manager avoid a familiar feeling.
“It was more relief than anything else,” explained Swales.
“Going into extra-time brought back Vase defeats against the likes of Bristol Manor Farm and Newport Pagnall Town.
“Mark Davison has volleyed one in to get us through and I think we deserved it.
“Their keeper has made three or four top saves, including from Colin Larkin’s penalty.
“We said before the game that it was all about winning.
“We want to create memories in the FA Vase and replicate the success of good Northern League sides like Whitley Bay, Stockton Town and North Shields.
“We looked fit, we just had to do what we do and take our chances.
“We kept creating chances and we started snatching at them.
“But we stayed disciplined and it shows great character, attitude and desire.”
Seaham Red Star had Dan Wilson sent off as their hopes of a Vase run were ended by a 4-0 defeat at Vauxhall Motors.
Thomas Mitchell, Kevin Excell, Thomas Murphy and Kieran Hamm got the goals to condemn a ten-man Red Star to defeat.
Brandon United are also out of the Vase after their fell to an 8-0 hammering at Barton Town.
Hebburn Town romped to a 4-0 home win against a much-fancied City of Liverpool side, although a historic day for the Hornets was marred by post-match clashes between supporters of both clubs.
On the pitch, there were no such issues as goals from Graham Armstrong, Louis Storey, James Fairley and Paul Chow helped Scott Oliver’s side see off the North West Counties Premier Division leaders.
Ian Chandler won’t be celebrating a fifth FA Vase win this season after his Bishop Auckland side were beaten by Hemsworth MW.
Seon Ripley’s second-half goal helped the West Yorkshire side to a 3-2 win at Heritage Park.
A Ronnie Jones brace helped Bedlington Terriers come from behind to record a stunning 5-1 win over Division One side Whickham.
Dunston UTS came from a goal down to see off a determined Billingham Town as a Liam Brooks brace gave Chris Swailes’ side a 3-1 win at Bedford Terrace.
Daniel Moore got the only goal off the game as Shildon beat Glasshoughton Welfare at Dean Street and Brad Mills brace helped Guisborough Town to a 3-3 draw at Runcorn Town, meaning the two sides will meet again at the KGV Stadium on Wednesday night.
Consett extended their lead at the top of the Northern League Division One table as Michael Sweet and Michael Mackay got on the score-sheet in their thrilling 4-3 home win against Stockton Town.
A late goal from captain Mark Turnbull helped Tom Wade secured a point in the first game of his second spell in charge of Newcastle Benfield as they drew 3-3 with Whitley Bay.
And Paul Robinson inspired North Shields to a 4-2 win at Newton Aycliffe as his brace and goals from Craig Spooner and Gary Day helped the Robins to all three points at Moore Lane.
In Division Two, Durham City manager Wayne Gredziak believes that his side paid for a slow start in their 2-1 home defeat against Tow Law Town.
Lewis Martin and Kai Hewitson put the Lawyers two goals ahead at Hall Lane and they took all three points, despite Jamie Hayman pulling one back for their hosts.
Gredziak said “It was frustrating because we were slow getting into the pace of the game.
“Tow Law dominated the opening 30 minutes, but I thought after that we controlled the rest of the game.
“We had more possession, but a mis-timed tackle gave them a penalty to put them two ahead.
“You are thinking it’s game over when that goes in, but it seemed to wake us up and Jamie’s goal got us back in it.
“That certainly made the second-half more entertaining, but as much as we huffed and puffed we couldn’t find an equaliser.”
The result leaves the Citizens second from bottom in the Division Two table.
Despite a promising display, Washington fell to a narrow defeat at Billingham Synthonia. Connor Smith’s early goal was enough to give the visitors a win against the Mechanics, who remain fourth from bottom.
Easington Colliery’s poor form continued with a 6-2 hammering at Northallerton Town.
Thomas Goundry got the Colliers back on level terms after Richie Walker had put their hosts ahead on eight minutes. Walker’s second of the day and a Kieran McWaters goal gave Town a 3-1 lead at half-time, but Ethan Wood reduced the deficit just after the hour-mark.
But that was as good as it got for the Colliers as Town romped home thanks to a Nicky Martin brace and a penalty from Aaron Ramsbottom.
Jonathan Hirst scored twice to help Jarrow FC to a 2-1 home win against Ryton & Crawcrook Albion and a Gilberto Chapim goal was all that was needed for West Allotment Celtic to see off Crook Town at Druid Park.
Heaton Stannington came from behind to beat Redcar Athletic at Grounsell Park.
Sam Calvert put the hosts ahead on seven minutes but they were reduced to ten men by Jordan Rivis’ red card.
A stunning Joe Wear strike got the Stan back level and they took the points thanks to second-half goals from Connor Campbell and Joe Kerridge.