Sheffield United crashed out of the first round of the Capital One Cup on penalties but Wolverhampton Wanderers, Hull City, Doncaster Rovers and MK Dons all narrowly avoided shoot-out upsets.
Eight matches went to extra time and five required spot-kicks on a dramatic Saturday but Leeds United and Middlesbrough both progressed in comparatively straightforward fashion to the second round where they could meet Premier League opponents.
Following a 2-2 draw after extra time, Sheffield United suffered more penalty pain as Burton Albion recorded a historic 5-4 spot-kick win over Danny Wilson's side, who also lost last season's League One play-off final to Huddersfield Town in a shoot-out.
Stale Solbakken was given a rude awakening to English football after his Wolves side, which was missing Matt Jarvis through illness on the same day as the winger was understood to have requested a transfer, nervously required penalties to defeat Aldershot 7-6 in the shoot-out at Molineux following a 1-1 draw after extra time.
Steve Bruce will have been a relieved man after Hull City came from a goal down in his first competitive game in charge before eventually defeating League Two Rotherham United 7-6 on penalties.
Last season's Conference play-off winners York City came close to causing one of the shocks of the day but eventually lost a cruel penalty shoot-out 4-2 to Doncaster Rovers.
MK Dons overcame the 40th minute red card of Stephen Gleeson as, despite their numerical disadvantage, they managed to defeat League Two Cheltenham Town 5-3 on penalties.
Barnsley overcame the 90th minute red card of Ben Alnwick to win a seven-goal thriller after extra time against Rochdale at Spotland to also reach the second round.
On a day when they announced the signing of El Hadji Diouf, Leeds picked up a 4-0 victory over Shrewsbury Town at Elland Road with goals from Luciano Becchio, Luke Varney, David Norris and a Ross McCormack penalty.
Middlesbrough progressed to the second round after a 2-1 triumph over Bury at Gigg Lane, where Mark Hughes' goal was only a consolation for home fans.
James Hanson's goal five minutes into extra time gave Bradford City a narrow 1-0 success at Notts County among the more than half-a-dozen games which required an additional half-an-hour.
A lively encounter between Walsall and 10-man Brentford, who had Jake Reeves sent off, at Banks' Stadium ended in a 1-0 win for the home side after Ashley Hemmings' eighth minute goal.
Substitute Chris Iwelumo's goal in extra time saw Watford sneak into the next round after being made to work hard for a 1-0 victory over Wycombe Wanderers.
After a dream first half in which they took a four-goal lead, Crewe Alexandra defeated Hartlepool 5-0 to go into the hat for the second round, with Max Clayton and Mathias Pogba both among the goals with two apiece.
Matty Robson's 39th minute goal was enough to give Carlisle United a 1-0 win over League Two Accrington Stanley.