Kristian Dennis came back to haunt his former club by scoring the winner in our 1-0 victory at Chesterfield in the Buildbase FA Trophy.
The forward turned home his ninth goal of the season late in the second half to send us into the second round on a cold afternoon in Derbyshire.
It wasn't all plain sailing, however, as injuries to Jim O'Brien - on his return from a lengthy lay-off - and Sam Slocombe saw both players leave the field in the first half.
Neal Ardley kept true to his word by handing a number of players an opportunity to impress him.
While Slocombe kept his place in goal and Connell Rawlinson remained in central defence, they were surrounded by fresh faces as Zoumana Bakayogo, Dion Kelly-Evans and debutant Alex Lacey came into the back line.
O’Brien took the captain’s armband alongside Regan Booty in central midfield, with Sam Osborne and Sean Shields providing the width.
Up front, Nathan Tyson partnered Dennis as Wes Thomas dropped to the bench. Kyle Wootton was spared the trip.
Tom Crawford was named on a substitutes’ bench also featuring Jake Kean, Damien McCrory, and Michael Doyle, with the likes of Richard Brindley, Mitch Rose, Ben Turner and Enzio Boldewijn rested altogether.
Following a quiet opening 10 minutes, the first half-chance of the match fell to Rawlinson when he rose highest to meet Shields’ corner. He couldn’t direct his header on target.
A minute later, Bakayogo denied our hosts a certain goal when he positioned himself on the goal line to block Joe Rowley’s shot.
The flurry of chances continued as Dennis was denied by Shwan Jalal with a shot from the edge of the area moments before Slocombe made two saves in quick succession, pushing Charlie Wakefield’s effort wide before nudging Rowley’s header over the bar from the subsequent corner.
A double blow was to follow as O’Brien hobbled off the field after sustaining an injury near the halfway line minutes before Slocombe was forced off after requiring treatment. Doyle came into midfield and Kean took his place between the sticks for his first appearance.
And the former Blackburn keeper, who is also our keeper coach, appeared to get a crucial fingertip to Rowley’s shot moments after entering the fray, diverting the ball on to the crossbar.
Shortly afterwards, Kean was back in action as he denied Mandeville with his legs to ensure the sides returned to the changing rooms level.
There were no changes for either side during the interval and a total crowd of 931, featuring 336 travelling Magpies, had little to write home about in the opening exchanges of the second half as shots from Mandeville and Tyson, which flashed wide of the respective keepers’ near posts, were the only notable moments.
Osborne threatened to spark the match into life shortly after the hour when he was released into the right-hand channel before seeing Jalal save his well-struck effort.
And the winger showed good feet to draw the game’s first booking out of David Buchanan moments later, the Spireites skipper being suckered in to a foul near halfway.
We were enjoying a decent spell and nearly had the lead when Lacey met Booty’s corner with a powerful downward header, only for Jalal to keep the ball out with an instinctive save.
Then it was our hosts’ turn to spurn a good opportunity of their own as Gevaro Nepomuceno, who scored the winner in this season’s league encounter, latched on to a bouncing ball over the top only to fire it over from a tight angle in the area.
Nepomuceno threatened to scamper in on goal moments later but was illegally halted by Lacey, who entered the book.
It looked like extra time was looming – but Osborne had other ideas as on 72 minutes he surged into space down the right and drilled a low cross along the six-yard box where Dennis was on hand to turn the ball home in typical poacher’s style.
Our hosts immediately set about restoring parity, Curtis Weston turning the ball wide with an acrobatic effort from near the penalty spot minutes before Crawford replaced Tyson, who had been suffering with cramp.
But, despite four minutes added time, Chesterfield were unable to muster a response as we progressed to round two.