Concord Rangers boss Danny Cowley hailed "some colossal performances" by his players after their 1-1 FA Cup first-round draw at Mansfield.
The Conference South team are 44 places below the League Two Stags in the English football pyramid.
"We had individuals who played right at the top of their game. I'm proud of them," Cowley told BBC Essex.
"If you're going to come to a Football League club, you have to have players at their best and they did that."
Jordan Chiedozie scored a superb 30-yard strike for Concord to level up Danny Glozier's own goal and force a replay back on Canvey Island on Tuesday.
Concord, nicknamed the Beach Boys, were playing in the Essex Senior League in 2008, the ninth tier of English football, but have been promoted three times in the last six years.
"We've come a long way. Eight years ago this club couldn't have dreamed of this moment - to be in the FA Cup first round, let alone hold a league club to a draw," said PE teacher Cowley.
"There are a lot of people who volunteer their time and are really selfless. It's for those people tonight, because it's their club."
Cowley was back at work at 07:30 GMT on Wednesday morning to teach pupils at FitzWimarc School in Rayleigh, only four hours after the team coach had arrived back in Essex.
"I think some of the boys were up earlier than me," he said.
"It's tough but that's the life of people who are involved in non-league football.
"Quite a lot of our children come and watch our games now. They'll be really pleased this morning."