Chester FC can count themselves fortunate to still be in the FA Trophy after limping to a 1-1 draw at Witton Albion.
Jordan Chapell had handed Chester a first-half lead on 36 minutes but Brad Bauress levelled midway through the second half as Witton dominated proceedings.
The Blues, who had Kane Richards sent off late on, will now face Albion at home on Tuesday in a replay in a bid to make round two, but they will need to be far better than they were at Wincham Park.
Chester made one change from the team that drew 1-1 at Guiseley seven days previous with Chapell coming in to replace Craig Mahon, sidelined through illness.
Despite being three leagues below the Blues, Witton started on the front foot at Wincham Park, clearly buoyed by their success over higher league opposition on Tuesday night when they beat National League North outfit Boston United 4-2.
But while Witton had plenty of the ball in dangerous areas of the pitch, they failed early on to test the Blues and it was Elliott Durrell's tame drive from 20 yards that was the only meaningful action of the opening 30 minutes.
Chester enjoyed some bright spells themselves but it wasn't until the 36th minute that a breakthrough was made.
Tom Shaw whipped in a cross that found the head of Richards who headed downwards towards goal at the far post with the ball eventually finding Chapell who had the simplest of tasks, nodding home from two yards.
Witton didn't respond immediately but they almost levelled matters just before the break.
Ex-Chester striker Rob Hopley, the first player to score a competitive goal for the reformed Blues back in 2010, brought down a high ball on the edge of the area, springing the offside trap, but his looped effort couldn't find its way over Lynch.
The best chance of the half for Albion was yet to come, though, as they almost restored parity on the stroke of half time when Tolani Omotola raced onto a long ball, sliding under an advancing Lynch, but Sam Hughes was on hand to clear off the line.
The Blues failed to come out of the traps early in the second half and, but for a half chance for Hughes from a Durrell free-kick, failed to test the home side.
And it was Carl Macauley's men who struck next. Bauress stroking home from 12 yards after ex-Vauxhall Motors man Karl Noon had seen his effort cleared off the line by Hughes. It was no less than they deserved.
Chester failed to really test Witton keeper Daniel Roberts and the home side continued to dominate, making the Blues look as if it were they who plied their trade in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier.
Noon almost had them in the lead on 77 minutes when Noon raced onto a loose ball, with Ryan Astles racing across to slide tackle him and the rebound cannoning off Noon and on to the cross bar.
The rain began to pour and the home side continued to grow in confidence, putting the visitors on the back foot time and time again.
Chester's woes were increased in added time when Richards was shown a second yellow for a bad tackle on Tom Owens, with a scuffle involving the two following.
And Witton almost won it at the death but Lynch saved well with his feet. It would have been no less than the home side deserved.
If Chester were to go out here then they could have had no complaints.
Witton looked like the National League side and dominated Chester, certainly in the second half, and could and should have won.
There were few, if any, positives. It was an afternoon to forget and Tuesday night must provide a panacea to this afternoon.
They cling on. Just.
Alex Lynch : Nobody covered themselves in glory but Lynch made some key saves to keep the Blues in it.
Witton Albion: Roberts, Lycett (Gardner 61), Devine, Wilson, Brown, Haywood, Noon, Owens, Hopley, Omotola, Bauress. Subs: Adigun, Hickman, Garner.
Goals: Bauress 62
Chester: Lynch, Hunt (Waters 75), Hudson, Hughes, Astles, Shaw (Joyce 80), Lloyd, Durrell (George 80), Chapell, Alabi, Richards. Subs: Horwood, Marsh.
Bookings: Richards, George
Sent off: Richards
Goals: Chapell 36
Referee: Steven Rushton.