Tottenham boss Martin Jol feared becoming the latest giantkilling victim in the Carling Cup before his side came from a goal behind to defeat Port Vale in extra time.
Spurs reached the quarter-finals of the competition after their 3-1 victory at White Hart Lane - but their League One opponents were within sight of an upset.
Following Southend's unlikely win over Manchester United on Tuesday, Vale took the lead after 63 minutes when Leon Constantine fired through Radek Cerny's legs.
Spurs had been knocked out by Grimsby last season and another embarrassing defeat loomed until Tom Huddlestone's free-kick was deflected in by Constantine to send the match into extra time.
'When you see Manchester United going out, last season we went out to Grimsby and that was a nightmare,' Jol said.
'We knew we had to take the initiative but it was of those nights when the ball wouldn't go in, the keeper was outstanding - those were the ingredients for an upset. We had to grind out a result.'
Huddlestone established a lead in the first half of extra time, his drilled effort getting deflected in off Danny Sonner and past Mark Goodlad, who had pulled off a host of impressive saves.
'Tom was outstanding from the first to the 120th minute,' Jol said. 'He was always taking the initiative, pulling the strings and getting the ball.
'Every build-up was starting with him, and that is what I want. I was very happy I played him.'
Huddlestone was one of the 10 players brought into the starting line-up as Jol utilised his squad following victory over Premiership champions Chelsea on Sunday.
'We've got a very big squad so you have to trust your players,' Jol said.
The Dutchman, however, had to bring on Dimitar Berbatov, Aaron Lennon and Hossam Ghaly off the bench as the hosts chased the game, and he felt their quality made a difference.
'I was concerned, I thought if we don't do this we might go out of the cup,' Jol said. 'Lennon showed a good mentality and Berbatov knew what it was all about.'
Jermain Defoe sealed the victory in the second half of extra time when he slid in to finish Phil Ifil's cross from the right, sending Spurs into the last eight of the competition they won in 1999.
Constantine and Goodlad were the pick of the Vale players, and the striker hopes the performance can help their league form.
'They were a quality side and I thought I did all right,' he said. 'From my point of view it's very positive. We may have lost but everyone involved can be positive about it.
'They've shown us how to keep the ball and I think it can help our league form.'