Having benefitted from a kind draw in three qualifying rounds of the FA Cup, St Albans City had the dream of writing their name into the history books shattered by a five goal onslaught at Blundell Park as Grimsby Town eased through to the 2nd Round with a 5-1 romp on Saturday.
James Comley was a class apart at Grimsby.
Cityâ€™s league form, they currently sit just one place off the foot of the National League South table, suggested that an upset was unlikely against Paul Hurstâ€™s Mariners who had lost just one of their previous 12 games.
But the overturning of such statistics is what the Magic of the Cup is all about.
For St Albans, though, there was nothing more magical than a strong dose of reality as the Saints received a hammering only slightly less painful that the 8-1 drubbing dished out by Mansfield Town at the same stage of the competition two years earlier.
Grimsby paid St Albans, and the competition, respect by fielding a strong starting XI but still made four changes from the side defeated by Cheltenham in their last outing.
City made two alterations from the draw at Havant with Ben Martin returning from suspension to replace Darren Locke in the heart of the defence, while Louie Theophanous reclaimed the number nine shirt from Harry Crawford.
On a blustery afternoon on the North Sea Lincolnshire coast, City began encouragingly with Martin heading out a dangerous in-swinging Nathan Arnold free kick, and then going on the attack with Kevin Krans and Theophanous linking well before Billy Gibson fired over the top from 25 yards.
But that is pretty much where the Saints first half attacking intentions ended.
Grimsby, in their sixth season outside the Football League, controlled the opening 45 minutes although it was fairly tame and uninspiring affair.
The Mariners went close when a Conor Townsend corner was well met by the ever threatening Jon-Paul Pittman whose header was cleared from the goalline by City captain Lee Chappell.
Midfielder Scott Brown, in his first starting appearance of the season, went close from distance as the home side pressed for an early goal.
Pittman then turned provider when breaking down the Grimsby left and clipping a good ball into the centre of the penalty area that Omar Bogle completely missed with his right foot when he looked certain to score with his left.
Cityâ€™s dream began to crash into the rocks on the half hour when the Mariners scored their 43rd goal of the season.
James Comley, far and away once more St Albans best player, was penalised for a shove on Omar Bogle as the duo challenged for a lofted Brown pass on the edge of the penalty area.
Once the City disputes, that had some justification, had subsided Townsend beat Saints keeper Joe Welch high to his right with a superbly placed left-footed free kick from 25 yards.
A free flowing Grimsby move a minute later ended with Tait putting the ball into the City net but a marginal offside decision kept the Saints in the hunt.
Grimsby appeared set to take the single goal advantage into the half time break until a calamitous misunderstanding in added time led to Padraig Amond scoring his 13th goal of the season in only his 17th appearance.
Central midfielder Andy Monkhouse chipped the ball to the edge of the penalty area where Chappell inadvertently headed wide of advancing Welch for Amond, just three minutes after replacing the injured Bogle, to walk the ball home despite Chappellâ€™s gallant effort to recover lost ground.
The wind that had been a feature of the opening 45 minutes grew in intensity during the interval and, for a while, the blue skies of the early part of the afternoon were replaced by something far more sinister.
Grimsby began the second half where the first ended with a shot by Pittman forcing Welch into a low save and then being denied by the woodwork.
Having offered little threat for almost an hour St Albans suddenly burst into life with a header by Martin from a Chappell throw calling upon James McKeown to make his first save of the day.
With substitute Harry Crawford adding more zest to the attack, City moved forward swiftly on 62 minutes with Ben Nunn and Crawford exchanging passes before Nunn found Theophanous to the left of the Town penalty area.
Moving inside Cityâ€™s leading scorer powered a right-footed effort into the home net via the underside of the crossbar from 19 yards.
Before Grimsby could recover their composure St Albans attacked again with Kevin Krans and Sam Corcoran working the ball up to Theophanous.
This time Cityâ€™s summer signing from Farnborough declined to shoot early with his left foot and saw his delayed right footed drive deflected wide, although a goal kick was awarded to Grimsby.
City resurgence continued with Gibson miscuing following another long throw by Chappell and as the ball ran loose Crawford blasted a shot wide.
An equaliser was looking a distinct possibility but on 71 minutes the fightback was brought to an abrupt halt as the Mariners scored their third goal.
Arnold intercepted a pass by Martin and ran down the right flank to latch onto a superb ball through the City defence by Craig Clay. Keeping a cool head Arnold arrowed a pass towards the back post where Pittman slid in to score.
The game was now very much up for St Albans and Grimsby threatened to hand out the sort of thrashing that has been an all too common occurrence whenever the Saints have reached the competition Proper.
On 85 minutes Grimsby added a fourth goal when a St Albans clearance was returned deep into their half by Shaun Pearson whose header was collected by the free Marcus Marshall.
With an air of inevitability Marshall stormed through the City ranks and the unprotected Welch could do nothing to deny the substitute his first goal of the season.
Maybe a fifth goal was harsh on the Saints but Grimsby celebrated their march into the 2nd Round in style when Brown lofted a perfect ball to the back post for Amond to head in his second goal of the match.
The St Albans contingent in the crowd was given as 117 â€“ there were several more scattered around the two stands â€“ which was below expectations, not that it stopped those present from making themselves heard.
Prior to the game a minuteâ€™s silence was observed to mark the Remembrance weekend.