Minor league Eastleigh suffered FA Cup heartbreak when they conceded a late equaliser as four-times winners and Championship side Bolton Wanderers salvaged a 1-1 draw in their third round match.
The Hampshire part-timers, nicknamed the Spitfires after the World War II plane that first flew from the local airfield, were on the verge of causing the day's one genuine shock when they led through Dorian Dervite's own goal.
They came back to earth with a thud when debt-ridden Championship side Bolton levelled three minutes from time through Darren Pratley to set up a replay.
On a day of 25 ties, holders Arsenal, bidding to become the first club to win the trophy three times in succession since Blackburn Rovers in the 19th century, came from a goal down to beat Premier League strugglers Sunderland 3-1.
Toiling Manchester United were minutes away from a drab stalemate with third tier Sheffield United at Old Trafford before Wayne Rooney converted a stoppage-time penalty to give the 11-times winners a 1-0 victory.
Manchester City and Everton also made it through to the fourth round, City winning 3-0 at Norwich City in one of four all top-flight clashes and Everton ending the hopes of fourth- tier Dagenham and Redbridge with a 2-0 win at Goodison Park.
League Two (fourth tier) Wycombe Wanderers made sure their name will be in the hat for the fourth round along with Exeter City after a 1-1 draw at home to the Premier League's bottom club Aston Villa who have now gone 16 matches without a win.
Exeter held Liverpool to a 2-2 draw on Friday.
Hartlepool, also Football League bottom rung, took the lead against former winners Derby County but lost 2-1 while Portsmouth, FA Cup winners in 2008 but now floundering in League Two, earned a 2-2 draw at Championship club Ipswich Town.
Watford beat Premier League rivals Newcastle United 1-0, Crystal Palace overcame Southampton 2-1 and West Ham United edged past Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 at Upton Park.
No Premier League clubs suffered defeats by lower league opponents, although West Bromwich Albion came close, James Morrison stealing a 2-2 draw at home to Championship side Bristol City in the 95th minute.
Bournemouth won 2-1 at Championship promotion hopefuls Birmingham City while former England striker Peter Crouch was on target as Stoke City won 2-1 at third-tier Doncaster Rovers.
Action continues tomorrow with Leicester City at Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea hosting Scunthorpe United and Swansea City hoping to avoid embarrassment at fourth-tier Oxford United.