Grant McCann lamented his Doncaster side “having to do things the hard way” in the FA Cup after failing to make a dominant first half count in their 2-2 draw with Accrington Stanley.

Rovers led early through a Kelvin Mellor own goal but saw chances to extend their advantage go begging before Accrington rallied in the second half.

Shaun Whalley levelled for the visitors before Harrison Biggins’ piledrive put Doncaster back in front, only for Stanley to secure a replay at the Wham Stadium through Seamus Conneely’s equaliser.

“I’m a disappointed not to win the game given how good we were in the first half,” McCann said.

“You have to take your chances to win games and ultimately we didn’t do that in the first half.

“I thought we were excellent and should have been out of sight by four or five before half-time. That’s not an exaggeration because their keeper has made some world-class saves from Luke Molyneux and Mo Faal. He’s kept Accrington in the FA Cup.

“This team is giving us everything. We’ve gone toe to toe with one of the best teams in League Two, if not being better than them.

“We’re going to have to go and do it the hard way, go to Accrington and get ourselves into the next round. But the most important thing is that we’re in the hat. We’ll see what the draw gives us and go to Accrington and try to get the result.”

Accrington boss John Coleman praised the performance of goalkeeper Jon McCracken for a string of brilliant saves that kept Stanley in the contest.

McCracken, on an emergency loan from Norwich, twice denied Luke Molyneux from point-blank range before batting away a Mo Faal shot to help Accrington stay alive.

“They were unbelievable saves to keep us in the game and he made another brilliant one in the second half,” Coleman said.

“You need that from your goalkeeper and you need your defenders to make good blocks. You need people to step up and he did that to keep us in the game.

“I want to talk about the fans too, because they stayed with us despite witnessing the worst first-half performance we’ve put in for a long time.

“That’s taking nothing away from Doncaster because they were good, but everything we practised and everything we spoke about went out of the window.

“The second half was very different and we were a lot better. We played like the home team and took the game to them.

“I think we just about deserved to get a draw in the end from being comprehensively outplayed in the first half.”

Darrell Clarke launched an astonishing tirade at his Cheltenham players and apologised for their “woeful” performance in 5-1 loss at AFC Wimbledon.

Without a win in five Sky Bet League Two games, the Dons made light work of the League One strugglers to reach the FA Cup second round.

Town, who broke records by going 10 games without a league goal at the start of the season, reached new lows in a desperate Plough Lane display.

“It’s nowhere near good enough,” raged Clarke. “At least we are all in agreement in the changing rooms, that’s what it was.

“It’s a woeful, embarrassing performance. Apologies to the fans that came to watch that.

“I have to choose my words very carefully because I am very angry at the minute and I want to make sure I don’t chuck too many people under a bus.

“It’s nowhere near the standards that I will be taking this football club to and the players are under no illusions about what I thought about the performance, and the staff, and now it’s about a reaction.

“It was abysmal, all of it. Woeful. Defensively, we gave them a 2-0 start, we were absolutely miles off it individually and collectively.”

The Robins looked to have turned a corner under Clarke, appointed in late September, beating Carabao Cup quarter-finalists Port Vale and Cambridge in their last three games.

All of that positivity ebbed away as Ali Al Hamadi opened the scoring with a fine finish into the bottom left corner in the 23rd minute after Omar Bugiel’s pass.

Tilley netted his first during first-half stoppage time, touching past the advancing Luke Southwood after Connor Lemonheigh-Evans’ ball.

Tilley volleyed in the third from the edge of the box after 61 minutes before Josh Davison beat Southwood with a deflected effort to make it 4-0 four minutes later.

Lemonheigh-Evans then curled in the pick of the Dons’ goals from 20 yards in the 70th minute.

Rob Street grabbed a consolation before Aidan Keena’s penalty hit the post in the 85th minute to compound a miserable afternoon for the visitors.

AFC Wimbledon boss Johnnie Jackson said: “Great performance. A really good test for us against a team from a higher league.

“Really, really complete performance. We created an awful lot and shut them out for the most part so I have to be pleased with that.

“We could have scored double what we did. We scored five and could have had five more.

“Cheltenham struggled at the start of the season, but since Darrell (Clarke) has come in, they’ve had a real response. They’ve won two out of their last three and started scoring, looking like a good side.

“We weren’t thinking it’d be an easy one for us. They are a league above and they have had that bounce, so we had to be right on and we have to give ourselves credit because we’d have done that to a lot of teams today.”

Steve Evans called Stevenage “the warriors of the EFL” after Jamie Reid’s 100th-minute winner capped a thrilling 4-3 FA Cup victory over Tranmere.

The League Two strugglers travelled to the Lamex and found themselves a goal down after three minutes courtesy of Jordan Roberts.

But Nigel Adkins’ side hit back through ex-Boro striker Luke Norris and Rob Apter, before Reid equalised and former Rovers forward Kane Hemmings nudged the hosts ahead.

Kieron Morris thought he had taken the first-round tie to a replay in the 90th minute, but Reid tucked home a last-gasp rebound, prompting Evans’ bullish claim.

Evans said: “I thought Nigel [Adkins] got a real tune out of his boys today, so credit to them.

“But if they think they’re the warriors, we’re the warriors in the EFL. We’re the warriors. We never stopped going. Great character from the boys.

“The FA Cup is simply about getting through. For a neutral it was fantastic. We never forget that we’re Stevenage and we beat Tranmere Rovers.”

The Boro boss picked out substitute Hemmings’ performance, after the summer signing forced the last-minute save from Luke McGee that Reid profited from.

“Real praise for Kane Hemmings,” said Evans. “Kane wasn’t thought to be good enough for Tranmere and I’ve always liked him.

“It was a fantastic first goal and a brilliant run and strike for Jamie Reid to get on the end of the winner.

“We were tempted to start him today. I’ve got absolutely no sympathy for players playing against their old clubs and all that nonsense but my God, when he came onto the pitch he looked like the Kane Hemmings who’s played for me before. He looked electric in everything he did.”

For Rovers boss Adkins, who was taking charge of his first game as permanent Tranmere manager, there were plenty of positives to take from the defeat.

Adkins said: “I think the commitment from the players was top drawer. I think that was there for everyone to see.

“We played some good football at times. You can see there were some good little intricate passages of play and movement.

“We’ve shown resilience, we’ve shown all the things you want. All in all, the lads put a really good shift in today.”

But the timing of Reid’s winner stung, especially after Morris’ equaliser might have contributed to the nine minutes of added time being extended.

Adkins said: “It’s just such a shame that after 99 minutes we’ve managed to get the ball forward and the fourth official said, that’s it, time’s done.

“We’ve put the ball, maybe naively or maybe trying to win the game, into the box and they’ve gone down the other end and scored.”

Oxford head coach Liam Manning praised two-goal hero Billy Bodin following the 2-0 FA Cup win over National League Maidenhead at the Kassam Stadium.

Bodin scored in the 15th and 83rd minutes – but in between the Magpies gave it a real go and caused the League One promotion-chasers a lot of problems.

Manning said: “I just hope Billy stays fit because he’s been brilliant today.

“I think he’s in a really good place right now, because for the first couple of games this season he wasn’t in the team.

“But his personality in and around the dressing room has been great.

“I’m going to challenge him to score even more goals now. We know the quality he’s got and he needs to be getting double figures this season.

“So for all the terrific stuff he does, I’m going to keep pushing him to score more.”

Manning admitted the overall performance had been disappointing at times – but the U’s got the job done.

He said: “Cup football’s a bit different.

“We just spoke about it in the dressing room – there are two aspects to the game – it wasn’t the performance we wanted but we got the result.

“In a knockout competition like the FA Cup that’s the most important thing – you want to go through.

“There were large elements of the performance where we know we can be better and improve but there were two moments of real high quality to win the game.

“We have to be reasonable in our expectations – some people haven’t had games recently and that takes a little bit of time.

“We had moments of good play but we know what we’re capable of and we know we can get higher levels.

“But I don’t want to put too much of a dampener on it. What do you want to do, play perfectly and get knocked out or find a way to win? Ultimately that’s what we did today.”

Manning has been linked with the vacant Bristol City job, but he did not want to comment on that.

“I don’t want to detract from today, but I’ve heard nothing,” he said. “And I don’t want to get involved in anything hypothetical, I don’t see the point in it.”

Maidenhead boss Alan Devonshire, serving a touchline ban, said he was unable to speak to the media.

Assistant manager Ryan Peters said: “They’re second in League One so we always knew it would be tough, but I thought we did ourselves proud.

“There were moments in the second half when we had them on the ropes, and we had a few moments where it flashed across their goal.

“You just hope then you can nick one.

“But then they go down the other end and produce those moments of magic that have kept them as high as they are in the league.

“Ironically, scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for us lately, we’ve been scoring goals for fun. It’s been keeping them out at the other end that has been a problem.”

Peters said the occasion was special for the club.

“For quite a lot of these young boys in our team it’s the stage they want to be on, so it’s a big day out for them,” he added.

“It’s a bit of mixed emotions for me. We performed well. But I suppose when you run a team so close – and especially a team that is going so well in League One – yes, you’d like to see it over the line.”

Jamie McClurg said he was “choked” at Bracknell Town’s exit from the FA Cup at Sky Bet League One Cambridge following a 2-1 defeat.

The Southern League Premier Division South side were playing in the first round for the third time and looked set to be heading out following Fejiri Okenabirhie’s opener and Olukayode Osu’s own goal soon after half-time.

Joint manager McClurg was left ruing a penalty appeal which was turned down midway through the second half for a challenge on sub Ben Harris, whose goal two minutes from the end proved in vain.

“If it’s down the other end, it’s a penalty. That’s how I see it,” McClurg said afterwards.

“Ben’s gone through and he’s been taken from behind, it’s clear as day. Even the fourth official’s agreed with me and then changed his mind.

“We said we wanted a performance, and every single one of them has given us that. I’m extremely proud like Carl (Withers, his fellow joint manager) is and all the management team.

“I am choked about a couple of decisions, the goals, the penalty, there’s a chance at the end. I’m actually really choked about things but I’m so proud of the lads.

“Football comes down to moments. I want to focus on all the lads and what they gave us, all the efforts that have gone into this, but I really thought this would be the time that Bracknell got into the second round so I’m quite emotional about it.

“I’m sure the whole town is proud of what of what we’ve achieved. I felt it was there for us today, but that’s football.”

Cambridge boss Mark Bonner felt his side had nearly thrown the victory away despite looking comfortable at 2-0 up.

“If you want the magic of the cup you’ve got to get through the first few rounds, so we’re pleased to have done that, but the second half was ridiculous,” Bonner said.

“The way the game finished was ridiculous as well. We got away with one, really.

“They had chances to do it and they’ll think they should have done it. They probably should have done in the end because we gave them so many moments.

“We were really comfortable up to the second goal. Obviously we had lots of the ball, created lots of chances, could be a bit more clinical, but we were happy enough with the first half.

“In the second half we get an early goal and you just say ‘right, let the game roll away from them and take the game,’ but we got scruffy and scrappy.

“Every time we made changes we kept getting worse, so it was a horrible end, but just get through and have the opportunity to play another game.”

Darren Ferguson was left to rue two individual errors that left his Peterborough side facing a replay away at Sky Bet League Two Salford following a 2-2 draw.

Posh goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic twice gifted the visitors the lead, in the fourth and 69th minutes, with errors before towering defender Emmanuel Fernandez snatched an equaliser in the 93rd minute after being sent on to play upfront.

“I’m frustrated we’ve got another game and a journey up to Salford,” Ferguson said.

“We’ve already got Wigan on Tuesday so I didn’t want a replay. I ran the risk of losing the game towards the end.

“We were defending with just two players and the rest were upfront but in many ways, you don’t want to lose a game so you’re better off being in the cup and having a replay but it’s definitely a result I didn’t want.”

Bilokapic first played a pass straight to Stephen Mallan on the edge of the box to bury into an empty net and then allowed Zak Sturge’s backpass to roll under his foot.

Ricky-Jade Jones had pulled Posh level just 25 seconds into the second half, scoring in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.

Ferguson added: “We know the reason why we drew, there’s no other way of looking at it, it’s two individual errors. I don’t think they’ve any real chances in the game.

“The mistakes were momentum killers because we started the game really well and were on the front foot.

“The second came from nowhere. Before that, everyone thinks we’re just going to go on and win the game, even them probably.”

After coming so close to an FA Cup upset, Salford boss Neil Wood was left disappointed that his side could not get over the line.

He said: “It’s tough, they’re a really strong team.

“They had to really load it up with the subs they brought on at the end.

“We did ever so well and we’re a bit disappointed in the moments leading up to the equaliser, we probably made some mistakes. It feels like a defeat.

“I have high expectations for us and it’s probably a bit of disappointment creeping in but we have to put it into context.

“They are a really good team at the top end of League One, who have some excellent players.

“We dealt with their attacking players quite well and to get ourselves back in front and to get  90 seconds away from seeing it out, without doing so, is disappointing.

“We played some good stuff ourselves and defended really well so there are some real positives to take from the game.”

Derek Adams hailed his Morecambe players as “giant killers” after beating League One Lincoln 2-1.

The fourth-tier Shrimps came from behind to reach the second round of the FA Cup at Sincil Bank.

Lasse Sorensen fired the hosts in front in the first half before Burnley loanee Michael Mellon levelled on the stroke of half-time.

Tom Bloxham, on loan from Shrewsbury, won the contest with his first goal for the club.

Adams said: “It’s all about the giant killing and we’ve come here and we’re the giant killers because they’re a big player in League One.

“We could have been out of sight by the end and then they hit the post. But we’re through and that’s what it’s all about.

“It was always going to be a tough draw away from home against a mid-table team in League One.

“But we’ve come here on their own patch and won the game, so we’re delighted.

“We could have probably scored more goals. Tom could have had a hat-trick. The keeper’s made a brilliant save and then he’s had one cleared off the line.

“The game had everything. We could have been out of sight at the end, but we weren’t and then they hit the post.

“But all that matters is getting through and thankfully we’ve done that. It was an incredible performance from the players.”

The managerless Imps limped out at the first hurdle of the historic cup competition for the second year running.

Interim boss Tom Shaw said: “We started really brightly and the game plan was having a huge effect. If we had been cleaner in the final third we could have been two or three goals up.

“The final pass just got away from us and teams like Morecambe are always going to be in a game with the spirit they have.

“But after a brilliant start we have given them hope with a goal just before the break and we lost a bit of control.

“I have to apologise to the fans for no cup run this year and it is a shame because we looked so good before the game turned round.

“I’m really disappointed, as are the players. It’s a difficult one to take for sure for us.”

Gillingham manager Stephen Clemence praised his side’s character as they overcame underdogs Hereford 2-0 to progress in the FA Cup.

Jayden Clarke’s deflected goal gave the League Two side a first-half lead before Tom Nichols’ late penalty sealed their passage into the second round.

“The boys have shown great character,” said Clemence. “I didn’t feel Hereford really opened us up, although there was pressure.

“I felt I learnt a lot today in circumstances which could have become difficult.

“The players with their character didn’t let that happen. They stood firm and I’m really pleased. The players have been fantastic with me.

“They know it’s my first time as a number one. I’ve had to do some things this week that I’ve never done.”

Clemence’s reign as Gillingham boss got off to a perfect start when Clarke’s 23rd-minute effort took a wicked deflection past goalkeeper Curtis Pond and into the net.

Paul Caddis’ side sensed an equaliser and almost found it in the second half but Ethan Freemantle fired wide twice.

However, with four minutes left on the clock Nichols hit Hereford on the break, running through on goal before being judged to have been clipped by goalkeeper Pond.

The experienced forward regained his composure to score from the penalty spot.

Hereford manager Caddis claimed the referee made the wrong decision over the late penalty.

“We’ve just had an apology for the (awarding of) the penalty,” said Caddis who was watching from the stands due to serving a one-match suspension.

“The referee has got it wrong. An EFL official and we’ve been let down. That’s not taking anything away from Gillingham. Over the course of the game they probably deserved to win.

“It’s difficult when you play against teams a level above you who are full-time. We’re a fit group, how fit we are I’m incredibly proud of as we only get four hours (of training) every week.

“I’m extremely proud of every player.”

Ian Evatt described his first FA Cup managerial success as “strange but nice” as Bolton hammered home the 48-place difference between the League One club and their National League visitors Solihull Moors.

Evatt had lost five times in the competition with Bolton and previously as boss of Barrow.

But the visitors, who had skipper Jamey Osborne sent off in injury time, were swamped by the third tier’s third-placed side who scored through Ricardo Santos, Paris Maghoma, Will Forrester and Dion Charles. Top scorer Charles also had a penalty saved by Tommy Simkin.

“I am delighted the monkey is off my back,” said a relieved Evatt. “I can have a cup of tea now and enjoy Match of the Day for once.

“The message to the players was we didn’t want to be headline news. We didn’t want to feel embarrassed, we wanted to show everyone what we can do.”

Evatt, who last enjoyed success in the competition as a Chesterfield player in 2016, added: “It has been annoying because It’s not as though I have deliberately changed the team and not taken it seriously.

“I am fortunate I have had a lot of success early on as a manager: two promotions, a cup win (Papa John’s Trophy) and play-offs. But this has been one box I have not ticked.

“People talk about ‘the league is our bread and butter’ – that’s just nonsense, the players want to play football and want to win.

“We want to win consistently and if that’s in the FA Cup we will take it seriously.

“This game was all about attitude. We spoke how this game would show me where they are as a group, what their mindset is like. They showed me they are in a good place.”

Moors manager Andy Whing, booked by referee Scott Simpson in stoppage time for protesting at Osborne’s dismissal, said: “Bolton are a very good team. I was really impressed with them.

“It’s not as though they constantly carved us open. We were better than we have been in the last two or three weeks in terms of creating more chances.

“However, I am gutted. I don’t like losing football matches whether it’s against a Premier League side or against Biggleswade. But I am proud of the players at the same time.

“It’s a game of football you want to win but Bolton are some team, with a fantastic manager and coaching staff. Hopefully they go up this season.

“I thought we created some great chances, especially at 2-0, but they were straight at the goalkeeper.”

Newport manager Graham Coughlan praised his side for a “professional performance” as they beat Oldham 2-0 at Rodney Parade thanks to two goals from Shane McLoughlin to progress to the FA Cup second round.

The defender opened the scoring as he drilled into the bottom corner after 20 minutes and settled any late nerves with a second goal, a long-range piledriver, 10 minutes from time.

Coughlan is pleased to be in the hat for round two, but he admitted that it was not a game to live long in the memory for anyone other than McLoughlin.

“We got the job done,” said the Exiles boss. “We know how important the FA Cup to the history and tradition of this football club, not to mention the financial side of it.

“It’s probably best described as a good, solid, professional performance.”

Coughlan felt his side should have won more comfortably with Declan Drysdale going close on two occasions, Aaron Wildig seeing an effort cleared off the line and Omar Bogle failing to hit the target with several chances before McLoughlin settled the contest.

“I sound like a broken down record because we seem to have these conversations every week; we need to be more ruthless, more clinical in the final third,” said the Irishman.

“Nick Townsend pulled off two good saves for us as well. They tested us, they asked questions, and it was a tough afternoon.

“We’re really pleased to get through because Oldham are a good team with a good manager, and we’re happy with our afternoon’s work.”

Townsend denied Joe Nuttall with a superb save just before half-time and also prevented substitute Alex Reid from levelling on the hour, while James Norwood wasted an early chance after a poor back-pass from Scot Bennett.

Oldham boss Micky Mellon, taking charge of the Latics for only the fourth time, was disappointed by the quality of the match and by his side’s timid performance.

“We had an opportunity of trying to get a result in the FA Cup,” he said. “We’re a non-league team at the minute, but Newport weren’t going so great and it was an opportunity to show that fight and fire to try to get a result, but it was a very flat afternoon.

“There was little or no atmosphere, it was a bit dead. And we couldn’t string two passes together. We looked nervous, for some reason. I don’t know why, but we took too long to get going.

“We were lacking in qualities against a Football League club and we need to be better.

“We huffed and puffed a little bit in the second half, but, all in all, we went out with a whimper.”

Stockport boss Dave Challinor hailed four-goal Kyle Wootton after the Hatters eased to a 5-1 win at home to Worksop.

County led at the break after Jay Rollins cancelled out Wootton’s opener. But the County forward hit his second just before half time and two more as the Northern Premier League side tired, Odin Bailey piling on more misery with Stockport’s fifth goal seven minutes from time.

“It’s great for Kyle,” said Challinor. “It’s a great achievement for him and a memory that will stick with him for a long time.

“He’s got a souvenir that all the players will sign as a reminder of today. To score a hat-trick at any level is great, to do it in the FA Cup is brilliant.

“It was comfortable enough in the end but we were a bit sloppy in the first half, I wasn’t overly happy with how we went about it, and I can understand it from some lads who haven’t played that much so it was a bit disjointed.

“The second half was much better and once we got that freedom you can see the levels that there are between the teams. We were able to introduce players who have been playing regularly from the bench and once they tired and we brought fresh quality on it really shows the difference.”

The win stretched Stockport’s unbeaten run to 12 matches in all competitions and Challinor admitted he would happily take the easiest draw for round two with an eye on a possible glamour tie in the third round.

“The aim for us coming in round one is the third round,” he added. “We managed to do that last year and didn’t get the big draw that everyone wanted but we openly hope for the lowest-ranked team at home to give us the best chance of getting into that third round.”

Tigers boss Craig Parry admitted the gulf in divisions told in the end but was proud of his part-time players’ efforts.

“I do feel hard done by with the 5-1 scoreline,” he said. “But I think we’d given that much in the first hour we were out on our legs and obviously the full-time lads are fit and strong and when that calibre of player comes off the bench, 2-1 can quickly turn into 5-1, and that’s what happened today.

“Going into half time I’m sure their manager would have been giving them a few home truths, I think at 1-1 we were well in the game but unfortunately we conceded just before half time.

“But even coming up to the 60th minute I don’t think they’d caused us too many problems. The changes made a difference, as you could see in the game. They had better quality and lads who were a lot fitter. Unfortunately, that’s the difference in levels.

“When Jay Rollins’ goal went in I thought it might have been on for us.

“I thought we were really frustrating them, they were a bit agitated but our goal probably calmed them down.

“They got up a head of steam again, we conceded at the wrong time and the game got taken away from us. I’m very proud of our performance though.”

Wycombe manager Matt Bloomfield expressed his relief after their 2-1 first-round FA Cup win at Bradford.

The Chairboys had been in control of the tie with a two-goal lead at half-time.

But the League Two side came back strongly after the break to make Wycombe battle hard for their win.

Bloomfield said: “We’re really pleased to be through because it was an uncomfortable afternoon, if I’m honest.

“I thought Bradford were fantastic in the work they did and the way they passed the ball. They created some good opportunities and I’ve got to be pleased with the way we defended our box.

“The amount of blocks we got in was fantastic. There’s loads to improve on in terms of our in-possession stuff but the majority of those boys have done five games in the last two weeks.

“I think it possibly showed. We looked a little bit leggy in the last half an hour so fair play to them for digging in and making sure we got the result.”

Killian Phillips, on loan from Crystal Palace, scored Wycombe’s opener before Sam Stubbs headed into his own net to extend the lead.

Bloomfield added: “KP had been due one because his performance levels have been really high recently. He’s been top for us with his energy, the way he gets us moving forward and the amount he puts into the game.”

Jamie Walker pulled one back for Bradford after 64 minutes as the home team piled on the pressure. Wycombe keeper Max Stryjek made saves from Walker, Andy Cook and Tyler Smith.

Bradford caretaker manager Mark Trueman said: “It was difficult because you’re going in at half-time 2-0 down thinking that we’ve not done a lot wrong.

“I felt the way we started the game was positive but obviously goals change games. We knew that we would always create chances and felt like we were always causing them a threat.

“We’re disappointed in the manner we’ve conceded the goals with individual errors. They happen with the threat that Wycombe have got.

“But I think we dominated for long periods in the second half and were a little bit unlucky not to get another goal.

“We knew if we scored quite early then it might give us a chance of forcing a draw at least. I’ve got to praise the players for their performance.

“They felt the second half was one of the better performances they’ve had all season. We’re disappointed but we can take a lot of positives from today.”

Bradford have been without a manager since Mark Hughes was sacked a month ago.

“The players have applied themselves in the right way,” added Trueman. “Yes, they could say they are a little unsettled but the performance levels didn’t really show that.”

Shaun Maloney says it is time that Wigan enjoyed another good FA Cup run following their 2-0 first-round win at Exeter.

In a match almost identical to the 2-0 win for Latics in League One just two weeks ago, Wigan won it with second-half goals from Thelo Aasgaard and Steven Sessegnon, despite Exeter dominating for long spells.

“It was a very good team performance,” Maloney said. “We changed it tactically in the second half. I didn’t think there were massive issues in the game, I just wanted to get our attacking players in the game more and in the end, it was an excellent performance.

“First half was very even, there wasn’t too much in it but at the same time, I didn’t feel we were really cutting through them when we had the ball.

“I felt we were a danger on the counter attack but I wanted more of the ball in the second half and once it got to 2-0, I was really happy with the way we saw out the game.

“This game meant a lot to us and it was a big win for us. We have a history in the cup. Everyone talks about 2013 but the following season, we made it to the semi-finals, lost on penalties, 2018 as a League One club, we beat a Pep (Guardiola) Man City team. Hopefully it’s our turn to make some memories but it is just one round.”

It was frustration for Exeter manager Gary Caldwell, though. His side have now lost eight of their last nine games and scored in only three of those matches.

“It’s really frustrating,” Caldwell said. “I thought we were better today than we were two weeks ago in terms of how we wanted to play and the chances we created.

“We created great opportunities to score, a brilliant opportunity second half for James (Scott) but didn’t score and the longer the game went on, they were always going to be a threat on the counter and we gifted them a goal. Then the game became really difficult.

“It is clear what is happening, it is clear what we need to improve on and it is hard work on the training ground and support for the players that will do that.

“It’s frustrating because when you lose games, confidence does get affected – that is only natural in football and in life, but the players have to stand up in those moments and keep believing in what we are doing, what was working before and keep doing that to get back into the game.

“I do agree that confidence is low at the minute, but we have to work hard on the training pitch to build that back up.”

Luke Williams heaped praise on his Notts County defenders as their importance was highlighted during their 3-2 win over Crawley in the FA Cup.

Danilo Orsi scored twice for the visitors but goals from Dan Crowley, David McGoldrick and substitute Macaulay Langstaff saw the Magpies progress to the second round for the first time since 2019.

“I thought Crawley were absolutely brilliant, they also deserved to be in the hat for the next round because both teams created enough chances to win the game,” said Williams.

“They made it very difficult for us but I was disappointed with the overall performance because I thought we lacked bite, and I don’t think we were convincing enough.

“We were sloppy at times with trying to smooth the game when the ball is in a compromised position, and you need to put your body there.

“I didn’t enjoy the performance overall, but I enjoyed the attitude of the players trying to win.

“The defenders defended the box, and if they didn’t it could have been a disaster because we missed too many tackles and then we are relying on three guys and the goalkeeper to get us out of trouble – and they did that.”

Crawley boss Scott Lindsey said: “Yeah, there are some real positives from the game. We got 90 minutes into some of the players and maybe in slightly different positions of what they are used to.

“I thought they really commanded in the way we played and we created a lot – Adam Campbell coming in for us was a massive plus and Ade Adeyemo coming onto the pitch was a real positive and involved in one of the actions we could have scored at the end.

“(There are) lots of positives but we’re really disappointed not to get something from the game.”

The Red Devils return to the Broadfield Stadium on Tuesday to take on Aston Villa’s Under-21 team in the EFL Trophy and Lindsey insists his side are relishing the challenge.

After three successive away matches, he added: “It feels like it’s been ages, of course we are looking forward to being back at home.

“We are really good at home and we get a lot of points at home, so it will be a nice change of jumping on the bus again.

“We are going to be picking a team that is going to win us the game for sure. It will be an opportunity for some of the lads who haven’t played as much, but these boys are more than capable of beating Aston Villa on Tuesday night.”

Eastleigh cruised into FA Cup second round with 5-1 thrashing of National League rivals Boreham Wood.

The hosts were in front after 17 minutes, with Nigel Atangana turning the ball in after Chris Maguire’s free-kick had been headed away.

However, it took just two minutes for Boreham Wood to level through Matt Robinson.

Maguire had the hosts back in front within four minutes, firing into an empty net from Jake Taylor’s low cross.

Maguire then turned provider when his free-kick was swept in by Ludwig Francillette seven minutes before the interval.

And Francilette scored again shortly after the interval to make it 4-1 to the home side.

The dismissal of Jayden Harris in the 71st minute for a second bookable offence failed to knock Eastleigh off their stride and Maguire wrapped up a fine win in stoppage time, smashing in from six yards out.

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