AFC WIMBLEDON return to the ground where their incredible story began as they face Sutton United in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
Forming after the original Wimbledon FC were moved to Milton Keynes, Gander Green Lane hosted the Dons’ first ever match, back in July 2002.
Fifteen years, and six promotions later, Wimbledon now sit 13th in League One – a far cry from the side that were thrashed 4-0 by Sutton in that first game.
Despite a disappointing festive period, the Dons have settled into mid-table in their first season in the third tier, a remarkable achievement considering the club’s short history.
They even sit above MK Dons.
In the previous round, Neal Ardley’s men staged a magnificent comeback, rallying from three goals down in the 80th minute to beat non-league Curzon Ashton 4-3.
The original Wimbledon gave the FA Cup one of its greatest stories when they lifted the trophy in 1988 – a win tomorrow would keep Dons fans dreams alive of another famous run.
Sutton United have some cup pedigree of their own – the non-league side dumped then top-flight Coventry out in 1989.
Progression to the fourth round will cap a fantastic twelve months for Paul Doswell’s side, who clinched promotion from the Vanarama National South in May.
Having knocked out League Two Cheltenham Town with a dramatic last-gasp winner in the previous round, they’ll be more than happy to play the giant-killers again tomorrow.
However, I suspect the Dons will be a bridge too far this time around.
I’ll be backing AFC at 19/20 with 188Bet.
In what promises to be a mouth-watering derby, both sides’ exciting second round victories are sure to act as a precedent.
I’ll be buying goals at 2.85 with Sporting Index.
AFC Wimbledon - 19/20 (188Bet)
Buy total goals - 2.85 (Sporting Index)