Saturday was a day to be proud of Lynn FC.
Despite losing to two own goals, the season’s biggest Walks crowd of 1,357 provided a barrage of noise; Sky Sports filmed the tie; fireworks announced the arrival on pitch of the team, who worked their soggy socks off and deserved at least a replay with full-time Conference outfit Telford.
And but for those costly errors - again involving keeper Chuck Martini - the cash-strapped side, which entered, administration last week, would have beaten the FA Trophy’s most successful team ever.
Jamie March, who headed the equaliser, and fellow wing-back Simon Dakin were outstanding in a superb team effort.
The pitch was only passed fit at 2pm and Moroccan Martini should have felt at home among the sand dunes.
Caretaker manager Tony Spearing, his voice cracked with emotion and from bellowing support from the touchline, said: "We’ve been done by two sloppy goals which have killed us. We’ve had 80 per cent of the game and run them into the ground.
"Their manager said to me: `We got out of jail.’
"When we were a goal down, I looked at Biff (Darren Bloodworth) and said: `Here we go,’ but the players have never let me down.
"I told Chuck in no uncertain manner I was disappointed with the goals. The first one, Robbo never got a call, which was criminal. Then Chuck punched into his own net with nobody about.
"I can’t thank the crowd enough, I asked for them to come and I hope they’re not disappointed.
"It was a pleasure for my players to have a big crowd to play in front of. I hope they come back and support us:’
Linnets started brightly but Telford carved the first chance when Jim Bentley headed over a corner. But a minute later the underdogs had-the worst possible start when a lack of communication over a Jake Edwards cross led to Dave Robinson stretching in front of Martini and directing the ball into his own net.
The match turned ugly when Jon Palmer was booked for a sliding challenge on keeper Dean Williams when both went for a 50/50 ball. Mark Albrighton grabbed Palmer by the neck but escaped punishment.
Tackles went flying and the crowd; who were singing the referee’s praises just before for letting the tie go ahead, soon changed its mind when he booked Tommy Wright for disputing a supposed foul by Steve Lenagh.
Linnets continued to put the Lilywhites’ defence under -pressure as Wright caused problems with his- probing crosses. Only desperate defending prevented Palmer and Lyndon Rowland from converting one of them.
On the half-hour, Lynn grabbed a deserved equaliser with another incisive move.
Rowland fed Wright down the right and March timed his run perfectly to head the winger’s dangerous centre into the top corner of the net. The Walks erupted.
Bentley went close; then the unmarked Edwards missed a golden opportunity, spooning the ball for a throw-in from six yards after Robinson missed a header.
Telford rarely threatened in the second half apart from Martini saving. with his- legs after a bad back-pass let Edwards race clear. At that stage, if anyone looked likely to win, it was the Linnets.
But just after the hour, yet again Lynn were let down by their keeper. Martini went up for a regulation catch at a Kevin Jobling corner, elected to punch and touched it into his own net.
Back came Lynn. Palmer flicked on a Wright cross, but Simon Dakin could not get enough on a header and glanced it wide. That was the best Linnets could muster as Telford’s superior fitness and organisation borne from daily training sessions enabled them to hold the hosts at arms’ length.
Spearing threw on three subs but could not force a replay. One of them, birthday boy Dave Puttnam, could not celebrate it with a vital goal.
He had the last chance five minutes into stoppage time but his 20-yard snap-shot missed by a mile.
Lynn: Martini, Dakin. Clark, Robinson, Fuff, March, Lenagh, Hayes (W. Anderson 84), Palmer (Puttnam 77), Rowland, Wright (Bush 69). Subs not used: Spearing, T Daniels.
Telford: D. Williams, S: Travis, K. Sandwith, N. Moore, J. Bentley, M. Albrighton, B. McGorry, K Jobling, G. Martindale (C. Malkin 61), J. Edwards, S. Huckerby (G. Fitzpatrick 73). Subs not used: G. Murphy, J. Bray, R. Preece.