Macclesfield experience the magic of the FA Cup
At Moss Rose.
Everyone loves a good old-fashioned FA Cup giant-killing - unless, of course, it is your club on the receiving end.
With this in mind, Bolton fans travelled in trepidation to Macclesfield's cramped Moss Rose ground on Saturday for a third-round tie with the League Two side which - to use accepted parlance - had been earmarked as 'a potential banana-skin' for the Premier League outfit, and turned out that way too.
Wanderers survived, and probably should have won - they had enough chances late on.
But Macclesfield's gutsy display more than justified my journey, and everyone else's too, and they deserved the plaudits they will get for their 2-2 draw plus any extra cash that comes their way from the replay at the Reebok Stadium.
The chance of a shock was, I must confess, the reason I was there. It was the same for the army of television cameras, BBC Radio 5 live's main commentary team and most of the other inhabitants of the packed press box and media overflow area too.
The ingredients for an upset were all there beforehand. Are the higher division side struggling? Check. Will they make several changes to their team? Yes, six actually. Will they be playing in a tiny and unfashionable stadium outside of their usual comfort zone? Er, that too. Oh, and do the minnows have decent home form? Definitely.
Macclesfield celebrate taking the lead against Bolton. Photo: Press Association
On the day, even the conditions appeared to favour the Silkmen, or at least they did if you believe that, if they are bad, they help the lower-ranked team. Days of rain before kick-off had left the pitch soggy, and there was also an arctic blast blowing through this leafy part of Cheshire. It didn't matter that you often get that sort of weather in Bolton - today, it would be a leveller.
There was more. Throw in a vociferous and capacity crowd of just under 6,000 and that FA Cup staple of a wonder goal for Macclesfield, by a hitherto unheralded and exotic-sounding player in French-born Guinea-Bissau international Arnaud Mendy, and you might be wondering how Bolton made it into the hat for the fourth-round draw instead of joining Wigan Athletic on the back page of Sunday's newspapers.
Indeed, when Mendy turned to smash a spectacular dipping 25-yard shot into the top corner of the net to put Macclesfield 2-1 up with 22 minutes left, Bolton boss Owen Coyle admitted he feared the worst.
"At the time you think that this is a typical FA Cup moment," Coyle said afterwards, ironically while taking part in one himself - in the absence of a press room at Moss Rose he was speaking to the media while crammed into a corner of a shabby stand, with a half-naked and freshly-showered Macclesfield player repeatedly and unwittingly opening the door into his back behind him. Wembley this was not.
"But then it was a typical FA Cup game," Coyle added. "You've seen the pitch - it's not a pitch we are used to because we are spoiled at Premier League level, and the wind was swirling about.
"I think we had the better clear-cut chances and should have buried the game but I don't think people will begrudge Macclesfield having another go - I certainly don't . As you all know, in the jobs you do, it gives you a great FA Cup story, and I have no problems with that."
In fact, David Wheater's 77th-minute equaliser for Bolton meant Saturday's real Cup story was elsewhere, although myself and most of the residents of Macclesfield's press box only learned about it later.
Around the same time as Wheater ended the Silkmen's hopes of a fairytale, for now at least, Matt Ritchie scored the winner for Swindon that made Wigan the biggest scalp of the day.
While Macclesfield's draw was not the result their fans or the media wanted, it was still no mean feat.
Swindon, also of League Two, were the only one of 13 lower-league sides to take on a top-flight team and win this weekend and only two others earned draws - MK Dons, unlucky to concede so late against QPR, and Birmingham, who played out a forgettable bore draw with Wolves.
Add up the goals in those ties and the Premier League teams scored 32 while conceding 13. Not much magic for the underdog there. Seismic shocks have been thin on the ground so far in the third round, although upsets have not.
Championship sides proved far more vulnerable, with Crawley Town, Stevenage and Notts County seeing off Bristol City, Doncaster and Reading respectively, while Wrexham earned a repay with Brighton, and Dagenham & Redbridge with Millwall. Well done to all.
A replay is Macclesfield's reward too, and it may not be the end of their hopes either - they gave Bolton a scare at the Reebok in the Carling Cup earlier this season when they led at half-time before losing 2-1.
Silkmen boss Gary Simpson did not throw in the towel when asked about his side's chances of reaching the fourth round for the first time in their 138-year history, but he is realistic enough to know achieving that is now a lot harder.
"We have given them two good games and we have nothing to fear," Simpson said. "But I know that it was this bite of the cherry where we might have caused the upset."
Even with Bolton's poor home form this season, Wanderers fans - and anyone in search of a shock - will probably agree.