Non-leaguers Nuneaton were mobbed by hundreds of joyous fans after pulling off an historic 1-1 draw against Premiership side Middlesbrough.
The Conference North side made light of the 100 places between them and their lofty visitors with a sparkling performance that was as attractive as it was hard-working.
Only a world-class free-kick by the otherwise anonymous Gaizka Mendieta had spared Middlesbrough's blushes, for from first whistle to last Nuneaton conquered the bumpy, muddy pitch to thrill their fans.
There was reward too for Roger Ashby's side when Gez Murphy slotted home a last-minute penalty to set up a lucrative and hugely-deserved replay back at the Riverside.
This was no second-string Middlesbrough side either. Apart from leaving Mark Schwarzer on the bench after his transfer request, Steve McClaren picked very much his first-choice side.
Never before in their 69 years had Nuneaton faced top-flight opposition in a competitive fixture and though stalwarts fondly remember 21,000 squeezing into Manor Park for the visit of Rotherham in the 1960s. this was undoubtedly the club's biggest day in their history.
The excitement was huge and intensified in the opening clashes when Middlesbrough's inexperienced Lee Cattermole made a bad error in midfield, allowing Brian Quailey to advance and feed strike partner Murphy.
It should perhaps have been a goal, but Brad Jones stood up well and blocked his strike.
That was not just a flash in the pan, though, because Murphy then had another effort at goal in the fifth minute, this time a side-footed shot from 20 yards but straight at Jones.
Completely against the run of play Mendieta gave the Premiership side a 14th-minute lead with a tremendous free-kick.
From 25 yards out, slightly to the right of goal, the Spaniard drove his kick high to Darren Acton's right into the top corner and there was no shame on the Nuneaton stopper for the strike would have beaten most keepers, whatever league they played in.
Yakubu, the one Middlesbrough player who looked really up for it, threatened to make it 2-0, but Acton thwarted the Nigerian this time.
Nuneaton may have feared their task would made even more difficult when David Staff limped off to be replaced by Stuart Whittaker, but as it turned out the substitute put in a man-of-the-match performance.
Acton did excellently to beat out James Morrison's shot after a good Middlesbrough build-up, before Nuneaton once more came close to inflicting embarrassment on their Premiership visitors.
Gary Fitzpatrick set Murphy running towards goal once again and he tried his luck with a dipping shot from 25 yards, but Jones managed to flap a hand at it and the ball dropped agonisingly over the crossbar - fortunately for the Middlesbrough keeper, who should have done rather better.
Whittaker kept the pressure on with a terrific drive from a tight angle that was dropping into the opposite corner until Jones managed to tip it over for a corner.
Mark Noon rattled Middlesbrough again with a low shot that curled a foot the wrong side of the post.
'Premiership, you're having a laugh' barracked the Manor Park faithful, and even McClaren would have to have admitted they had a point. You could see why Nuneaton have not lost at Manor Park for 13 months.
As though in response, Middlesbrough upped their game and Mendieta skied a shot over the crossbar, before Acton once more came sliding out to block Yakubu.
On the stroke of half-time Stuart Parnaby came bustling in off the right flank, took a touch from Morrison and should have scored, but once again Acton got down well to make the save.
Nuneaton started the second half in tremendous fashion, carving out a series of opportunities.
Whittaker's free-kick picked out Terry Angus, but the centre-back could only loop a header into Jones' arms. Then the substitute brought a scrambling save out of Jones himself with a low shot.
From the ensuing corner the Nuneaton skipper Moore cursed himself after sending a diving header bouncing wide from a good position.
Nuneaton had a good shout for a penalty when Noon went down under Gareth Southgate's challenge, but referee Mike Dean did no favours to the non-Leaguers and waved away their frantic appeals.
Middlesbrough finally managed an effort on goal of their own when Viduka flashed a header towards the near-post, but Acton was able to turn it aside.
Then Whittaker ran at the Middlesbrough defence again before setting up Michael Love for a drive that he drilled just over.
With the clock running down, Morrison squandered the chance to make the result safe, lofting over from a good position.
Nuneaton finally got their reward when substitute Michael Frew's cross was judged somewhat harshly to have been handled by Gareth Southgate - the referee perhaps making up for his earlier decision - and Murphy kept his nerve to spark pandemonium in the stadium.
The FA Cup magic had weaved it spells once more.
Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren admitted his side had almost become one
of the FA Cup's giant-killing victims after scraping a draw against non-league
McClaren said: 'There are so many upsets in the FA Cup each year and we were
very nearly one of them. It was very, very disappointing but it could have been
even worse, and we live to fight another day and we have to make sure we finish
the match and get into the next round.
'We came here hoping to win and I have been involved in the FA Cup for too
long to take anything for granted.
'We prepared well, came down and looked at the pitch yesterday and after we
went in front I hoped that would be it but we couldn't finish them off and all
credit to Nuneaton who kept going.
'But when you're only leading 1-0 it's always dangerous and that's why the FA
Cup is such a great competition.
'It was always going to be a difficult game and in the end we were fortunate
it was just a draw.'
The match was a triumph for Nuneaton manager Roger Ashby, whose side not only
matched the Premiership visitors but had the better chances to win the games.
Murphy's equalising penalty sparked wild scenes of pandemonium inside the
small stadium with a pitch invasion by hundreds of delirious fans at the final
Ashby said: 'It has just been magnificent - a magnificent performance and a
'It feels like we won the game to be honest and the supporters who are here
will remember this for the rest of their lives.
'We more than matched them and we caused them a lot of problems all the time
'I'm just pleased my players have done this against a side from the top
level. This club has a fantastic spirit and I thought that shone through for the
'I also thought we had another 100% penalty turned down so we could even have
won it but in the end with only a couple of minutes left we got the decision and
Gez was so confident from 12 yards.'
Ashby said the financial rewards of earning a replay at the Riverside meant
everything to Nuneaton, who have high hopes of being promoted to the
He added: 'We have had a long run in the FA Cup this season - we will go into
double figures when we play at the Riverside.
'That replay in the FA Cup will be a saviour for us financially. We are a
non-league club and our finances are limited.'