The true spirit of the FA Cup shone like a beacon in the dark North East last night as tiny Nuneaton Borough celebrated a glorious defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough.
The Premiership giants triumphed 5-2 against the Nationwide North part-timers but it was the way in which the Midlanders accepted defeat that proved truly moving.
Gez Murphy - the hero of Manor Park whose penalty had booked Nuneaton their place in the third round replay last night - led his team in a victory lap of an emptying Riverside stadium.
As one, the players joined hands and raced the length of the pitch for a victory dive.
It was enough that they had been there to savour the experience.
When they took to the field before the kick-off the Boro boys raced to the 5,000-plus fans who had travelled from the north Warwickshire town to watch their heroes.
This was the stuff dreams were made of.
Elsewhere, on a night of high drama for the Midlands, Tamworth's dream was shattered as they were knocked out of the Cup after taking Stoke to extra-time and penalties at The Lamb.
Mark Cooper's heroic men had got to within eight minutes of a glorious fourth round tie with Walsall, who were 2-0 winners over Barnsley.
The plucky Lambs, who play in the Nationwide Conference, had held Stoke of the Championship for much of the game after Nathan Jackson scored a goal in the 42nd minute.
But Stoke slowly crept back into the game and after an equaliser forced extra-time, Tamworth had to do it all again.
The extended period of play could not separate the two sides and it went to the cruelest decider - a penalty shoot-out.
The assembled Tamworth faithful - it seemed the whole town had turned out to watch - held its collective breath as Carl Hoefkens held his nerve to score the winning penalty for the relieved Potters.
Heartbreak and the sigh of dismay could be heard for miles around.
Similarly West Bromwich Albion, already struggling in the top flight of English football, crashed out of the competition, losing 3-2 in extra-time to Reading, who could pass them on the way up to the Premiership.
Birmingham City earned temporary respite from their travails in the league with a 2-0 win over Torquay. No banana skin there for Steve Bruce, but his hard work is far from over.