FC HALIFAX Town were left to rue a raft of missed first-half chances as their FA Cup dream was ruthlessly ended by AFC Wimbledon.
Although the scoreline suggests a comfortable afternoon for the League One club, it was anything but.
Halifax belied their lowly status in the Conference Premier to cause their opponents all sorts of problems in the first half of their second round tie at The Shay, televised live by BT Sport.
However, all of their craft and endeavour amounted to nothing and Jamie Fullarton’s side, bidding to reach the FA Cup third round for the first time since reforming in 2008, were made to pay for their profligacy.
Wimbledon took the lead in fortuitous circumstances when - after a fresh-air shot from Jake Jervis - Ben Purrington’s rifled left-foot drive went in via a deflection in the 42nd minute.
It took the pressure off the visitors who, admittedly, did improve in the second period.
They finished the West Yorkshire club off with a quickfire double as Anthony Wordsworth’s princely goal from the edge of the area in the 72nd minute was soon followed up by Joe Pigott’s scrambled effort just three minutes later.
Still, Halifax did get some rewards for their effort when Niall Maher cleverly worked his way down the left, ex-Bradford City striker James Hanson only managing to direct his header past his own goalkeeper in the 85th minute.
Jonathan Edwards went close soon after, too, as the home side finished with a flourish but it was too late.
They had largely dominated that first half, playing with real belief from the opening minute and creating far more - and far better - chances.
The best of those came from Matty Kosylo who came so close to scoring a wonder FA Cup goal in the 20th minute.
From a cleared Wimbledon corner, the 26-year-old midfielder set off on a 70m run after opponent Anthony Hartigan misjudged the bouncing ball in the middle of the field.
As Kosylo got closer to the exposed last man, he dummied to Dayle Southwell and went himself before applying the finish only to see the ball cruelly strike a post and rebound out.
It was just one of many opportunities; Southwell saw an early free-kick deflected narrowly wide, Josh Staunton put one effort just over the bar after a goalmouth scramble and Matty Brown saw a free header well-saved.
Furthermore, Cameron King, who caused Wimbledon so many problems tucked in just behind striker Southwell, cleverly weaved his way into the box only for keeper Joe McDonnell to deny the hosts again.
They also had a penalty appeal on the stroke of half-time.
Playing with real purpose, drive and no little style, Halifax mastered not only their opponents - who struggled to get any cohesion - but the wet conditions, too.
Indeed, Wimbledon did not have an effort of note until as late as the 32nd minute when Mitch Pinnock’s fierce drive arrowed straight at Sam Johnson.
Typically, though, they did take the lead against the run of play and, once ahead, it was always going to become more difficult for Fullarton’s side.