MACCLESFIELD Town provided the Greater Manchester shock of the FA Cup first round proper as they left League One Walsall with a 1-0 win.
A first half strike from John McCombe was enough for the Vanarama National League side to ensure progression into the second round draw, which takes place on Monday evening.
It took an equaliser in the last 10 minutes to ensure Tamesiders Curzon Ashton weren’t knocked out by the lowest side left in this year’s competition: Westfields FC.
Adam Morgan scored his first goal for the Nash to spare their blushes after the Hereford-based side had previously gone ahead through a Craig Jones penalty.
It was the end of the road however for Vanarama National League North clubs Stockport County and Altrincham after they fell victim to National League opposition in Woking and Lincoln City respectively.
County started brightly and went ahead through Jimmy Ball – who later grabbed his second – but it proved in vein as Woking’s dominance shone through in the 4-2 victory for The Cards.
Altrincham, meanwhile, have taken solace in the cup after a bitterly disappointing start to their league campaign, but Sincil Bank was a hellish, rather than heavenly, way to spend the weekend.
The 2-1 defeat after City goals from Sean Raggett and Alan Power ensured that a late goal by Alty defender John Cyrus was a mere consolation for the travelling Robins.
Westfields almost pull-off a famous cup upset
At AllPay park there was a match that, despite the difference in league position, was up for grabs as both sides felt confident of progressing to the FA Cup second round.
Westfields were making their sixth appearance in this season’s competition and having formed in 1966, reached the first round proper for the first time ever in their 50-year history.
The Herefordshire club have already beaten Stourport Swifts, Tividale, St Ives Town, Highgate United, Walton Casuals and Leiston.
And it appeared their fairytale run in their anniversary year was set to go on after a first half opener from the penalty spot.
A clumsy challenge allowed Craig Jones to step up and he made no mistake in ensuring the hosts seized the advantage heading into half-time.
But with nine minutes of the game remaining, the Vanarama National League North club made their unrelenting pressure count.
The Nash’s 26 shots, in comparison to the hosts’ eight, saw one find the net as Morgan was in the right place to convert his first goal for the club.
The Imps march on to the second round
These two sides couldn’t have come together with much more contrasting league forms as high-flying Lincoln City have one eye on the Football League, while Altrincham flutter with Vanarama National League North relegation.
Jim Harvey’s side have impressed in the cup, however, with wins over Morpeth Town and Matlock Town ensuring a spot in the first round.
But it was to be too high a mountain to climb against Danny Cowley’s Imps after the hosts took control following an opener from defender Sean Raggett.
Lincoln, who thought they had doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time through talismanic striker Matt Rhead, did add breathing space between themselves and Alty when Alan Power slotted home.
Summer signing from Grimsby Town, Nathan Arnold, picked up a loose clearance from Altrincham’s Cyrus before playing in Power who easily caressed the ball into the net.
Yet the drama was not over as with 15 minutes remaining, Altrincham pulled a goal back through Cyrus to ensure a frantic end to the match.
An inswinging corner was met by the leaping Cyrus who made amends for his earlier mistake to allow Power to double Lincoln’s lead.
Yet despite late pressure from Harvey’s side it was to be their last action in the competition as Cowley’s Lincoln side showed their defensive resilience to ensure their name – and ball number 35 – is in Monday’s hat for the draw.
Bolton Wanderers make home advantage count
Things are looking good for League One Bolton Wanderers right now.
Seven wins in a row in all competitions, second in League One and now they have ensured a place in the FA Cup second round after squeezing past League Two Grimsby Town.
Wanderers were one of the rounds biggest draws; a side many of the minnows were hoping to draw given they were one of the biggest inclusions at the early stage.
But their progression was far from guaranteed despite starting strongly as former Grimsby loanee Liam Trotter headed home from a Zach Clough corner on 20 minutes.
Clough, the PFA League One Player of the Month, is in fine form and caused problems all afternoon, but neither he or his teammates could add to Trotter’s opening effort.
In Bolton’s first FA Cup first round appearance since 1992, striker Jamie Proctor should have wrapped up the win when he crashed an effort against the post – much to the relief of Grimsby goalkeeper James McKeown.
Bolton are ball 26 in Monday’s draw as they, along with Macclesfield Town, await their next cup opponent at the start of December.
Bury blow two goal lead to book AFC Wimbledon replay
When a fanbase turns on a manager it is never easy and there is a feeling around Gigg Lane right now that David Flitcroft’s time in charge is coming to an end.
And with that at the front of his mind, no doubt, it will be alarming to see his side concede their two goal advantage to AFC Wimbledon as the Greater Manchester side now head South in a midweek replay.
A 90-second brace from Hallam Hope just before the half-hour mark put the hosts firmly in control against their League One rivals – even Flitcroft’s biggest critics had few grumblings come the interval.
But having not won a game in their last eight across all competitions, Bury’s vulnerability soon shone through as Wimbledon’s Lyle Taylor and Tom Elliot completed the comeback in a frantic six-minute second half spell.
Taylor managed to hold his run, beat the offside trap and having picked the ball up wide left, cut inside to rifle home a right-foot shot beyond Bury goalkeeper Ben Williams.
And Flitcroft’s agony was compounded when a Wimbledon corner was partially cleared back to the corner taker, but he had time to look up, pick out Elliot who rose highest to head home the equaliser six minutes after Taylor’s strike.
Bury fans will look to the positives that they remain in the hat and they will know what is to play for when the replay comes around but it is understandable for some to say it felt like a defeat at Gigg Lane…
By Nathan Salt