On a day of few shocks in the FA Cup’s second round the most drama was at the Mazuma Stadium, where League Two Morecambe came from a goal down to beat Solihull Moors of the National League 4-2 in extra time.
Kyle Hudlin’s first Solihull goal gave the Midlanders a 19th-minute lead, an advantage they held until the break.
The Shrimps had striker Cole Stockton to thank for turning the game around as he scored twice in six early second-half minutes. There was still another twist as Morecambe old boy Jordan Cranston equalised to force extra time, but Stockton had a hand in the home side’s extra-time strikes – from substitute John O’Sullivan and a Mitch Hancox own goal – that took his side into the third round for the first time in 18 years.
Extra time was also needed at The Jonny-Rocks Stadium where hosts Cheltenham were grateful for George Lloyd’s brave header as they beat Crewe 2-1. West Brom loanee Finn Azaz had put the Robins ahead in just the second minute but Chris Porter’s leveller just after the hour forced the extra period.
Things were much more serene for the home side at Fratton Park, where Portsmouth cruised to a 6-1 win over National League King’s Lynn. Rasmus Nicolaisen, the defender on-loan from Danish champions FC Midtjylland, headed the League One side ahead after two minutes with further goals from Tom Naylor, Sean Raggett and Marcus Harness ensuring that the hosts were out of sight by the time Dayle Southwell pulled a goal back for King’s Lynn. Ellis Harrison and Jordy Hiwula were to pile on two more goals for Pompey before the full-time whistle.
League One Blackpool made equally light work of Harrogate from the tier below. It took until the 50th minute for the Tangerines to get the breakthrough at the CNG Stadium, with Mark Beck putting into his own net, but further strikes from Grant Ward, Jordan Lawrence-Gabriel and Daniel Kemp put Blackpool into the third round draw. Harrogate suffered a further blow with Kevin Lokko seeing red late on.
Exeter were the only team to knock out opposition from a tier above, running out 3-2 winners at League One Gillingham. Joel Randall scored twice in five minutes to give the Grecians some breathing room after Nicky Law levelled Vadaine Oliver’s opener for the Gills.
Dominic Samuel pulled one back for Gillingham with ten minutes left but Exeter hung on to reach the next round with Randall even striking the post when searching for his hat-trick. The victory for Matt Taylor’s side was just their third away in the FA Cup in 25 attempts.
League Two leaders Newport County put in a strong showing to beat ten-man Salford. Brandon Thomas-Asante was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Newport keeper Tom King just after the break and the Exiles took full advantage. Jamie Proctor, Padraig Amond and Saikou Janneh all scored for the hosts to knock out Richie Wellens’ side.
Plymouth also secured a straightforward passage into the third round with goals from Luke Jephcott and Ben Reeves enough to beat fellow League One side Lincoln at Home Park.
In the all-League Two battle between Bradford City and Oldham it was Harry Kewell’s Latics who came out on top, despite falling behind early on.
Clayton Donaldson did have the Bantams ahead after getting up to score from the spot when he was felled by Oldham keeper Ian Lawlor in the 11th minute. Oldham equalised seven minutes later when Conor McAleny cut in from the left and lashed a shot into the far corner from 20 yards. Danny Rowe scored a superb winner to give Oldham their third away win in eight days, their sixth in their last seven matches.