Callum Ainley’s late goal put Crewe Alex into the second round of the FA Cup for the first time in five years on Saturday.
The midfielder’s brave challenge on the keeper and clever flick home completed a comeback in a game the Alex were losing 1-0 to League One side Rotherham United at the break.
Brad Walker’s first goal for the club just after the restart had cancelled out a Will Vaulks opener and both sides went for the win on the day.
Ainley nicked it to send Crewe, who had won just one of their previous 14 cup fixtures and had failed to win any of their last eight games in the FA Cup, into the hat for Monday’s draw.
It was the first time this term the Railwaymen had fought back from behind to win a game this season.
In his darkest mood of the season, Paul Warne stood talking to the media in the gloom at Gresty Road when a firework went off overhead.
It fizzed and crackled then kind of gave up, producing nothing like the show it had initially threatened - much like Rotherham United as they exited the FA Cup at the first time of asking for the fourth year in a row.
The Millers manager, generally, doesn’t get too up over victory or too down after a defeat, but this was different. Tight-lipped, eyes fixed forward, acknowledging nobody, he emerged from the tunnel and strode into the middle of the pitch with his mobile phone clamped to his ear.
None of his trademark ebullience had returned by the time the call was over and he was addressing League One Rotherham’s first-round loss against a club from a division below them. He didn’t quite say it, but he was entitled to feel let down by his team who ruined his 50th match in charge by laying down in the second half after being in complete control at the break.
“I think as a manager this has been the hardest defeat to take,” said Warne as he shivered against the touchline cold.
“I don’t know yet what I’ll say to the players to try to get them back up. I’m still trying to swallow the defeat at the moment.
“I haven’t said too much in there after the game because I don’t want to say things I’m going to hugely regret. I’ll let them stew in my silence over the weekend.”
Rotherham United paid the price for a dismal second-half performance as they went out of the FA Cup at the hands of Crewe Alexandra.
Millers had led 1-0 after dominating in the first half at Gresty Road but their lower league opponents hit back with two goals after the break to win the first-round tie.
It was late agony for Paul Warne's men as the game-clinching goal came in the 89th minute.
Will Vaulks had put Rotherham in control of the tie after curling a beautiful shot into the net before celebrating with his trademark somersault.
Top scorer Kieffer Moore looked to have headed Rotherham 2-0 ahead on the stroke of half-time from Joe Newell's corner but, after consulting with a linesman, the referee ruled that the flag-kick should be retaken.
Having dominated proceedings, the Millers were pegged back two minutes after the break when goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell dithered over whether to come for George Cooper's free-kick and Brad Walker glanced his header home.
Then Callum Ainley was on hand in the dying stages to steer the ball past O'Donnell to complete Rotherham's misery.