Gainsborough Trinity breathed a huge sigh of relief as they advanced to the final round of qualifying for the FA Cup thanks to a late Matt Wilson winner after giving up a three-goal lead at lower league Droylsden.
It all looked rather comfortable at half time when the Blues returned to the dressing room three goals to the good but that was turned on its head in the second half when James Hampson equalised with five minutes to play.
Fortunately Trinity’s blushes were saved by the towering midfielder when he turned home a corner.
The game was a fantastic advert on what was Non League Day and also showed the romance of the FA Cup as a side in the relegation zone of a league two divisions below the Blues rallied heroically in the second half.
It was very much a David versus Goliath match up and the former certainly landed a few uppercuts on a Trinity side that were clinging to the ropes for large periods after the break.
Before the game, Gainsborough manager Steve Housham made one change to the side that lost to Stockport County last time out.
Liam Davis was the man to make way with Danny Forrest replacing him on the right hand side of midfield.
Trinity began brightly and dominated the play straight from the off. Simon Russell had the first effort of the game in the opening minute and was swiftly followed by Marc Newsham.
Nathan Jarman looked equally as dangerous as he tried to notch in successive FA Cup games. In the eighth minute, the former Grimsby striker forced an excellent save out of Craig Ellison in the Droylsden net.
Three minutes later, Jarman did get his name on the scoresheet as he chipped the ball over the oncoming Ellison to give the Blues the lead.
The goal sparked some life into the hosts and also eased some tension for the travelling Gainsborough fans.
The Bloods had a couple of wayward drives as they fought to get back into the cup tie. The belief seemed to drain out of the hosts not long after as Jarman doubled his tally in the 23rd minute.
The striker took advantage of poor defending to thunder home a drive from the edge of the box which gave Ellison no chance in the Droylsden goal.
The difference in class was all to be seen on the stroke of half time when Newsham grabbed a third.
A curling Jamie Yates cross was met firmly by the former Boston striker and he gave Trinity one foot in the final qualifying round.
Gainsborough boss Steve Housham responded by giving a rest to Newsham and Johnathan D’Laryea at half time. In their place came on Nick Bignall and Charlie Binns.
The home side certainly had not given up hope at this point and managed to pull a goal back when Brandon Zibala turned home after the ball ricocheted to him in the box.
The goal spurred on the Bloods and Zibala managed to force ‘keeper Jan Budtz into a couple of saves to maintain the two goal margin before Mike Koral headed over the bar.
Fernando Moke then forced another save out of Budtz and he managed to tip it wide for a corner.
Trinity were struggling to repel the pressure from the home side and in the 76th mintue the Bloods pulled another back.
Moke was the man who had been knocking on the door and he coolly slotted passed Budtz to increase the nerves amongst Trinity.
It got worse for the Blues as with five minutes of time to play James Hampson managed to pull off a remarkable comeback. The subsitute managed to poke the ball home and immediately disappeared under a pile of players.
Fortunately for Gainsborough, they responded in the best possible way. Jarman managed to find space to get a shot away and the strike had to be turned round the post for a corner.
From it Wilson had an effort cleared away and when the ball was pumped back into the box, there was Wilson to seal the win for Trinity.
There was still time for Droylsden captain Steve Hall to receive his marching orders for two bookable offences, as Trinity blew a big sigh of relief as they advanced to the final round of qualification for the FA Cup.
Speaking after the game, manager Steve Housham believed his side did not deserve to go through.
He said: “First thing what I will say is that I wish to apologies to the fans, I thought we were awful today and the best team lost.”
“I watched them and they will gift you chances, we could have been ahead after 30 second, so when it was 3-0 I think the lads thought it was too easy.”
“Even at three up, I didn’t think we had played well. We weren’t at the races and I think the only one who could take credit was Nathan Jarman for his work rate up there.”
“That’s what Nath is about and he has got power in his shot and is a hard working lad.”
“It’s like I said before it is their cup final and I’ve managed at that level. The players will give everything they’ve got. Credit to them as they kept on going and going at three nil when everyone was thinking it could be six or seven.”
“I’m just glad we are in the hat.”
Gainsborough Trinity: Budtz, Roma, Lacey, D’Laryea (Binns 45), Quinn, Picton, Russell, Forrest (Wilson 79), Newsham (Bignall 45), Jarman, Yates. Subs (not used): Stamp, Davis, Hedge.
Droylsden AFC: Ellison, Haynes, Barber, Dryden, Cooper, Wood (Clarke-Adams 58), Rouse, Hall, Zibaka (Hampson 74), Koral (Parkinson 67), Moke. Subs (not used): Pino, Mullen..
Gainsborough Goals: Jarman 11,23, Newsham 45, Wilson 88.
Droylsden Goals: Zibala 56, Moke 76, Hampson 85.
Bookings: Picton; Hall, Rouse.
Referee: Mr M D’Aguilar. Assistants: Mr J Kenny, Mr K Buckley.