AFC Portchester held Wessex Premier League side Newport IOW to a 2-2 draw on their big day in the FA Cup in front of a record crowd at Wicor Recreation Ground.
A 2-0 success at Cove in the extra preliminary round, their first-ever FA Cup tie, set up the prestigious clash.
And Glen Bridgman’s side more than matched a Newport outfit who escaped, somewhat fortuitously, with a replay at St Georges Park on Wednesday.
Even though they took an early lead through the impressive John McKie, Newport never looked comfortable.
Poor defending presented Kev Pottage the opportunity to level from the penalty spot.
Newport keeper Cameron Fawley saved the spot-kick but could only push the ball out to Zack McGregor who rammed it home.
Pottage and Jay Ripiner went close to putting Portchester into the lead.
But Darren Powell struck to ease Newport’s worries that the match was slipping away.
Just before the interval the hosts showed they weren’t in the mood to surrender the £1,500 FA prize money up for grabs to the winners, when Brett Farley thundered home an equaliser from just outside the penalty area.
Early in the second half Portchester lost their concentration briefly and sloppy defending gifted Newport a penalty.
But Portchester keeper Karl Watson flung himself across his line to save Mark Augustus’ well-struck spot-kick.
Newport’s Tom McIness headed against an upright but, that apart, Portchester never looked in any real danger.
The hosts were even denied a penalty late on for a handling offence in the area.
Boss Bridgman was left disappointed that his talented side have it all to do again in a replay.
The winners will continue their FA Cup adventure with a visit to Bournemouth Poppies in the next round.
‘We should have won it in the second half and would have done so with just a little bit more luck,’ said Bridgman.
‘They may be in a league higher than us but anyone not knowing that would have thought we were easily the better side.
‘That helps with our confidence levels when we go over to the island for the replay.
‘The penalty they got in the second half should not have been given.
‘And I thought we deserved one at the other end for what everybody saw as being a handball.
‘We just have to get on with it and give it our best shot in the replay.’