The magic of the FA Cup is so often about stories of underdogs overturning the odds and battling to memorable results and that’s the reasoning behind the awarding of our top performance honour on a day of preliminary round action.

A number of north Essex sides were facing clubs from higher divisions, but it was the display from one of our step five teams against a local step four foe that really caught the eye.

That step five side was FC Clacton and while the Thurlow Nunn League premier division Seasiders didn’t beat Witham Town - of the BetVictor Isthmian League division north - their performance more than merited the day’s top display award.

Witham are still in the FA Cup, but Clacton must surely be asking themselves just how that was possible after this preliminary round tie at the Rush Green Bowl.

Despite playing their league football at a level lower than their visitors, Clacton looked anything but underdogs as they dominated the play through much of the 90 minutes.

The Seasiders created more than enough chances to have been comfortable winners and hit the woodwork three times, but in the end, it was only Mehki McKenzie’s first-half goal that they had to show for their efforts.

And the fact that Oli Bell equalised that with a headed goal meant that Witham lived to fight another day and the two clubs will have to meet in a replay at the Simarco Stadium on September 3.

That was the only game involving north Essex sides that ended in a stalemate, though.

Coggeshall Town were emphatic winners at Essex Senior League side Cockfosters as two Nnamdi Nwachuku goals and one apiece from Conor Hubble and Michael Gyasi saw the Seedgrowers into the first qualifying round with a 4-0 victory.

Another BetVictor Isthmian League division north side making progress were Maldon & Tiptree, who won 2-1 at Saffron Walden Town thanks to a brace of Charlee Hughes goals.

However, other local sides all bowed out at the preliminary round stage.

Halstead Town faced higher-placed opposition and were undone in a 5-0 defeat at London Colney, while Harwich & Parkeston were also beaten by a side playing their league football above them with a 2-0 loss to Romford at the Royal Oak.

Stanway Rovers were also hoping to overturn league placings at Tilbury, but suffered a first defeat of the campaign in losing 3-1, with their consolation goal coming from Tom Holdstock and Heybridge Swifts bowed out with a 5-2 defeat at Grays Athletic.

Swifts were facing a side from the same level as themselves and had Harrison Chatting and Daniel Walker on target, but a Tony Stokes hat-trick set the hosts on course for the next round.