Charlton Athletic were made to work hard but eventually battled past National League North side Gateshead 2-0 underneath the Friday night lights to book their spot in the Emirates FA Cup third round.
The in-form Jayden Stockley struck either side of half-time to ensure the Addicks – three divisions and 61 places above their hosts in the English football pyramid – avoided being knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup by non-league opposition for just the second time in their history.
However, the Heed gave more than a good account of themselves in front of the ITV cameras at the Gateshead International Stadium and were the better team for large swathes of the first half.
Cedwyn Scott rippled the side netting after cutting inside on 16 minutes and Adam Campbell saw his curling effort from just outside the six-yard box fly narrowly over shortly after but, against the run of play, Charlton took the lead on the half-hour mark.
Conor Washington got to the by-line after running in behind the defence and cleverly dinked a cross for Stockley to force the ball in with his head from a few yards out.
Gateshead should have equalised when Campbell forced an instinctive save from visiting goalkeeper Stephen Henderson before dragging the rebound past the post, while Henderson was again alert to parry Alex Nicholson’s 20-yard shot after the break with Macaulay Langstaff inexplicably skewing the follow-up wide with the goal at his mercy.
And they were duly punished on 53 minutes when Ben Purrington took a first-time shot from Diallang Jaiyesimi’s cross which deflected off Stockley and flew into the corner.
Langstaff again lacked composure with 20 minutes left as he blazed over when clean through before a late goalmouth scramble saw Heed player-manager Mike Williamson hit the bar with a header and Henderson then deny Jack Hunter and Louis Storey with brilliant close-range saves.
But ultimately it was Charlton – winners of the Emirates FA Cup back in 1947, having lost in the final the previous year – who can look forward to Monday’s third-round draw.
Friday night’s other Emirates FA Cup second-round match also saw a League One side scrape past non-league opposition as Rotherham United edged out Stockport County 1-0.
National League Stockport recorded one of the results of the first round when they overcame Bolton 5-3 in a mesmerising replay after the initial encounter ended 2-2 and put in a similarly resilient performance at the AESSEAL New York Stadium.
Scott Quigley forced a brilliant save from Millers goalkeeper Josh Vickers with a venomous strike midway through the first half but just before the break, Michael Smith provided the decisive moment for the hosts.
Oliver Rathbone won possession and squared the ball for Smith to tap in his 15th goal of the season from close range that ultimately extended his side’s unbeaten run to 18 games in all competitions.
County pushed hard for an equaliser with Antoni Sarcevic squandering their best opportunity when Vickers smothered his shot but Rotherham held on to record back-to-back Emirates FA Cup clean sheets – having also shut out Bromley in the first round – for the first time since December 2000.