Conference South side Basingstoke shocked Chesterfield in the first round of the FA Cup, but Kettering were denied a replay against Oldham by a last-gasp goal.
There was a cruel reminder of what can happen to the minnows as Brighton trounced Northwich Victoria, but plenty of non-league teams kept their dreams alive on a dramatic day of action.
The story of the day unfolded at Saltergate, where Chesterfield, giant-killers in the Carling Cup this season, were humbled 1-0 by Basingstoke.
Currently bottom in Conference South, Basingstoke put their league worries aside as Matthew Warner's 25th minute strike powered them into the draw for the second round.
Kettering scored three times against League One high-flyers Oldham, but lost 4-3 following a stoppage time winner from Christopher Hall.
Sean Gregan (43), Paul Warne (56) and Neal Trotman (60) had all scored earlier for Oldham, but Kettering had stayed in touch through Craig McIllain (52), Zema Abbey (62) and Brett Solkhon (84).
Brighton thrashed Northwich 8-0 at The Withdean Stadium, with Jake Robinson (18, 55 and 78) scoring a hat-trick, Dean Cox (8 and 90) grabbing a brace and Alex Revell (64), Joe Gatting (82) and Sam Rents (89) all getting in on the act.
Clevedon Town, of the Southern Football League Premier Division, lost 4-1 at home to Chester. Laurence Wilson (7), Jamie Hand (49), Jonathan Walters (60) and Gregg Blundell (74) found the target for Chester before Jack Pitcher replied with a late consolation (90).
Exeter are currently going well in the Conference and may have fancied their chances of pulling off a surprise against Stockport, but they slipped to a 2-1 defeat with Adam Proudlock (82) scoring a late winner for County. Exeter's Lee Phillips (46) had earlier equalised Tesfaye Bramble's opener (21).
Barnet beat Gainsborough 3-1 at The Northolme, but were indebted to strikes from Tresor Kandol (78 and 90) after Nick Ellis (75) had cancelled out Dean Sinclair's first half effort (14).
Bromley, top of the Ryman League Premier Division, lost 4-1 to Gillingham, Mark Bentley (31 and 59) and Sungu N'Dumbu (84 and 90) both striking twice for the League One outfit.
In the day's two earlier kick-offs, Darlington and Bristol Rovers both safely negotiated potential banana skins as they travelled to non-league opponents.
Rovers powered into a 3-0 lead against Conference North side Barrow with goals from Richard Walker (35), Craig Disley (62) and Byron Anthony (67).
Tom Pope (69) and Nick Rogan (77) responded for Barrow, but Rovers held on to win 3-2.
Darlington crushed Lewes 4-1 at The Dripping Pan, with Martin Smith (38 and 90) leading the way for The Quakers.
Patrick Collins (62) and Kalu Ngoma (82) also netted for Darlington, while Lee Farrell (79) got his name on the scoresheet for Lewes.
Burton Albion famously held Manchester United last season but will not be going any further this term, after crashing out 2-1 to Conference rivals Tamworth.
A Kevin Poole own goal (59), followed by an injury time winner from Jon Stevenson, helped Tamworth recover after Daryl Clare had opened the scoring for Burton.
King's Lynn beat Bishop's Stortford 5-3 in a thriller at Woodside Park. In a topsy-turvy game, strikes from Adam Smith (27 and 46), Michael Frew (55 and 61) and Matt O'Halloran (71) were enough for King's Lynn to edge out Stortford, whose three goals came from Roy Essandoh (36), Danny Morgan (40) and Alex Martin (81).
Aldershot and Chelmsford will need a replay to decide who progresses after playing out a 1-1 draw. Jeff Milton's penalty for Chelmsford (51) was equalised by an own goal from Ben Chenery (59).
There were several all-League One clashes, but Bradford had no trouble in overcoming Crewe 4-0 at Valley Parade. Marc Bridge-Wilkinson (3), Steven Schumacher (61) and Dean Windass (70) did the damage for The Bantams, before a Darran Kempson own goal (77) completed the rout.
A Lewis Guy strike on 32 minutes helped Doncaster beat fellow League One strugglers Brentford 1-0 at Griffin Park, while Blackpool also beat Huddersfield 1-0 away thanks to a Wesley Hoolahan penalty (70).
No League Two side managed to cause an upset, with Notts County falling to a 2-1 loss at Leyton Orient and Boston United getting hammered 4-0 by Bournemouth.
The Cherries' goals came through Steven Fletcher (5 and 42), James Hayter (59) and Danny Hollands (90).
Wayne Corden (12) and Justin Miller (58) meanwhile, helped Orient to forget about their poor League One form, although Lawrie Dudfield (90) did pull a late goal back for County.
Click below for individual match summaries:
Barrow 2-3 Bristol Rovers
Lewes 1-4 Darlington
Bishop's Stortford 3-5 King's Lynn
Bournemouth 4-0 Boston United
Bradford City 4-0 Crewe Alexandra
Brentford 0-1 Doncaster Rovers
Brighton & Hove Albion 8-0 Northwich Victoria
Burton Albion 1-2 Tamworth
Chelmsford 1-1 Aldershot
Chesterfield 0-1 Basingstoke
Clevedon Town 1-4 Chester City
Exeter City 1-2 Stockport County
Gainsborough 1-3 Barnet
Gillingham 4-1 Bromley
Huddersfield Town 0-1 Blackpool
Kettering 3-4 Oldham Athletic
Leyton Orient 2-1 Notts County