Sutton United will host League One high-fliers AFC Wimbledon in the Third Round of the FA Cup after the two sides were paired in Monday night’s draw.
The match, which promises to be a mouth-watering derby, will take place at Gander Green Lane on the weekend of January 7-8.
Both teams secured exciting victories in the Second Round at the weekend.
Sutton overcame League Two Cheltenham Town 2-1 at Gander Green Lane on Saturday thanks to a last minute Roarie Deacon strike, while Wimbledon scored four goals in the final 10 minutes of an astonishing tie at Vanarama National North side Curzon Ashton on Sunday to win 4-3. Tom Elliott scored the decider with virtually the last touch of the game.
There is a strong bond and mutual admiration between Sutton and Wimbledon which was cemented in 2002 when the U's provided the opposition for Dons first ever game as AFC following the Football Association’s scandalous decision to relocate Wimbledon FC to Milton Keynes.
Sutton won that day 4-0 in front of an incredible crowd of 4,657 at Gander Green Lane as the Dons began the arduous process of rebuilding the club from scratch.
The two sides missed each other as the Dons progressed through the divisons from the Combined Counties League to the third tier of English football.
In 2008 they won promotion to the Conference South just as Sutton suffered relegation down to the Ryman League Premier Division.
The clubs have met twice before in a competitive match, albeit in the Surrey Senior Cup. Wimbledon won 1-0 at Gander Green Lane in 2005 prompting a pitch invasion by Dons fans at the final whistle. In 2013 Sutton gained revenge with a 5-2 home success, a victory met by more modest celebrations.
The clubs were old adversaries before Wimbledon became a Football League side in 1977. Their most famous meeting coming in the 1963 FA Amateur Cup final at Wembley Stadium.
Dons prevailed 4-2 in front of 45,000 with Eddie Reynolds hitting the headlines by scoring all four of Wimbledon’s goals with his head.
It has been an amazing year for both clubs. Under Paul Doswell’s stewardship, Sutton went on an amazing 26 game unbeaten run to clinch the Vanarama National South title last season, while Neal Ardley masterminded Dons’ promotion to League One which culminated in a 2-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle at Wembley in May.
The names of both clubs will be forever etched into FA Cup folklore.
The Dons bettered their giantkilling exploits of the 1970s - when they famously beat First Division Burnley and drew with reigning champions Leeds United - by going on to stun Liverpool 1-0 in the final of 1988.
Not to be outdone, the following season Sutton had their moment in the spotlight by knocking out First Division Coventry City 2-1 in the Third Round.
The towns of Sutton and Wimbledon are just five mile apart, meaning fans of either side will often look out for each other's results or attend matches, should the fixtures allow.
There’s added spice for United's new striker Matt Tubbs who scored a debut goal in the defeat of Cheltenham on Saturday.
Tubbs had a loan spell at Wimbledon in 2014/15 before securing a permanent move to Portsmouth and he will no doubt relish the chance of hitting the target against his former club.
U's goalkeeper Ross Worner also had a spell at Kingsmeadow from 2013-15.
Although Wimbledon will be the hot favourites for this tie, the cup has a reputation for paying scant regard to status and Sutton will quietly fancy their chances of causing yet another shock.
Full ticket details and matchday arrangements will be announced soon.