The trek north had clearly taxed the Essex team's reserves of energy - or perhaps it was a record of four exits to non-leaguers in six years. Whatever the reason, once they fell 2-0 behind in the 22nd minute to the first of John Milner's two goals they never looked like recovering, being utterly outplayed.
The draw had produced no fewer than 24 ties in which Nationwide faced non-league opposition, so the portents for upset could hardly have been better. As it was, shocks were kept to a minimum, but don't mention that to Third Division strugglers Barnet. They took the lead at Hednesford two minutes into the second half. However, they had no response when the GM Vauxhall Conference side responded to win 3-1, Neil Davis, Ged Kimmins and Paul Carty their goalscoring heroes.
Another Conference side, Rushden & Diamonds, who many fancy to win promotion, beat Shrewsbury Town 1-0, Paul Underwood claiming the winner. Doncaster Rovers, demoted to the Conference at the end of last season, had the satisfaction of beating the Third Division opposition offered by Southend United. David Penney grabbed Rovers' winner after 12 minutes at Roots Hall.
Two non-league sides were assured of progress to the second round by virtue of the draw. Southport of the Conference continued Dulwich Hamlet's poor record in the first round with a 1-0 win but Runcorn and visitors Stevenage Borough, who gave Newcastle United palpitations and a replay in last year's fourth round, must try again in Hertfordshire after a 1- 1 draw.
Last season Macclesfield and Slough Town, now managed by Graham Roberts, an FA Cup winner with Spurs, were in the Conference. Both left it, but in opposite directions, Macclesfield to the Third Division, Slough to the Ryman Premier. Yesterday at Moss Rose, Roberts' side almost pulled it off, leading 2-0 but having to settle for a 2-2 draw and an interesting replay.
Enfield of the Ryman Premier, with nine league club scalps to their credit already, still have not given up hope of adding Second Division York City's to the list. They trailed 2-0 at home but clawed themselves back, goals by Richard Dunwell and John Richardson earning a deserved replay.
There will be further anxiety for the supporters of Plymouth Argyle, whose side must go up to Kidderminster Harriers after a goalless draw at Home Park - Argyle had Ronnie Mauge sent off - and Exeter City who drew 2-2 at Tamworth thanks to Jon Richardson's 90th-minute equaliser.Reuse content