St Albans City boss David Howell admitted it was an emotional return for him after he guided his side to a 3-1 FA Cup win at Harrow Borough.
The former Reds boss took his new club to Earlsmead and they had far too much for the Ryman Premier side in their first qualifying round tie.
Howell, who steered Boro to the play-offs two seasons ago before moving to Clarence Park, said: “My connections with Harrow Boro go back a very long way as a player. There are things that have happened here which have been tragic and things that have happened which are really great.
“I think I probably assembled one of the best teams they would have seen here when we got to the play-offs so coming back it was different and emotional for me. I just had to focus and make sure we got the result St Albans City required and I felt we did.
“On a personal level I brought my young son here. I think it’s fitting his first football match is at Harrow Borough and it’s a ground where he lost his uncle Michael some 25 years ago so I’ve given him my brother’s name as his middle name and I took him into the changing room for his first footballing environment.”
The manager added: “It’s difficult because Harrow is always a special place for me and I just feel we didn't perform. It was difficult because Harrow didn’t come alive until all was lost.
“If I’m brutally honest they’re a million miles from when I left. I know some supporters will think that’s my fault but you have to make decisions based on your own personal circumstances are and what your ambitions are.
“I spent maybe a decade here doing things for the club and working hard and trying to think positive and achieve things. When I left the one thing I left them with is that they actually felt that.”
St Albans took the lead when former Fulham striker Barry Hayles headed home after just 14 minutes. Lewis Toomey set up Hayles for his second goal before Sean Shields swept in a well-taken third in the last 15 minutes.
Former Saint Joakim Ehui grabbed a late consolation for the hosts.
The Saints have been drawn away in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup with Budweiser on Saturday, September 22 at either Dunstable Town or Ashford Town (Middx).
Howell said: “It was comfortable but very difficult because it was an incredibly hot day. It was pretty hot out there but I thought we worked hard. It wasn’t one of our better performances but I stressed to the lads the importance of making sure we’re in the hat for the next round."
St Albans return home to face Kettering Town in the Southern Premier this weekend.