Sutton United reach the promised land of the FA Cup first round proper
Sutton United will grace the first round proper of the FA Cup for the fourth time in six seasons after coming through a tough replay on Tuesday night.
After Saturday's 3-3 draw at Hemel Hempstead Town, the sides went head to head again at Gander Green Lane in front of almost 700 fans - with United coming out 2-0 winners.
Hemel were not helped by arriving late after being held up on the M25 en route to south west London, and they were to suffer an injury blow that, with all three substitutes already used, saw them play more than 20 minutes with only 10 men.
Paul Doswell's men now face an even tougher tie when they go to Kidderminster Harriers - who are flying high in the Skrill Premier - on November 9.
But Tuesday night was all about getting a job done, and an early Ali Fuseini strike had United ahead, and Craig Dundas saw off the resilient leaders of the Southern Premier League with moments left on the clock.
Opener: Ali Fuseini's strike beats Laurie Walker in the Hemel Hempstead goal
It also banked another £12,500 for United, bringing their FA Cup prize money haul to £24,500 overall.
United, the underdogs in the next round, would pocket a further £18,000 if they were to beat Kidderminster.
Doswell said: "My nerves are shattered, but that is job done. We challenged the lads to get us into the first round proper, and they have done. It is a big achievement and it has brought a lot of money into the club.
"I am not personally putting myself under any more pressure in this competition, and what this allows us to do is go to Kidderminster and relax a bit, play with a bit more freedom and give it a go."
He added: "It was a classic cup tie. We started well, but Hemel are a difficult side to play against, they bomb forward quickly and support in great numbers.
"It was not our best performance, we did not keep the ball as well as we can. That is credit to Hemel, who were out on their feet at the end, but it was important for us to get through."
The traffic issues also saw Dale Binns arrive late, and - with Simon Downer feeling ill prior to kick off - Doswell was forced into two changes bringing in Sam Rents and Charlie Clough.
However, Binns' introduction in the second half proved the charm as his unpredictability on the left wing proved difficult for the tiring Hemel to handle.
Trickster: Dale Binns' introduction in the second half gave the tiring Hemel defence new problems
Doswell said: "Dale arrived five minutes before kick off and he'd been in the car for three hours so he was as stiff as a board.
"Simon [Downer] was feeling ill, and so we had two situations to deal with but our squad is good enough to cover it.
"We always planned to get Dale on the pitch after an hour, along with Damian [Scannell], and with both of them on the wings, we could really stretch them at the end."
He added: "At 1-0 you are never comfortable, and we had some unbelievable opportunities to go 2-0 up and they blocked shots, got their bodies on the line.
"But we've done it, that's it, job done."
Sutton United return to action in the Skrill South this weekend with the visit of leaders Eastleigh - kick-off 3pm.
Stretch: Ali Fuseini gets a foot in against Hemel's Ben Mackey
Job done: Craig Dundas pokes the ball past Laurie Walker to watch it roll into the net
Job done #2: Cue the celebrations
Trouble maker: Dean McDonald
Pressure: The Hemel goal comes under pressure in the second half
Away: Defender Mitchel Nelson clears the danger
Close him down: Ali Fuseini checks the movement of Hemel's Jordan Parkes
Legend: Craig Dundas now has six goals to his name this season
Stalwart: Jamie Stuart ended the match with a neck injury, but boss Paul Doswell is not writing him out of this weekend's league visit of Eastleigh
Slide-rule: Craig Dundas halts a Hemel attack
Called up: Sam Rents stepped up to the mark when Dale Binns' delayed journey meant he could not start the match
Shield: Jamie Stuart makes sure Ben Mackey is not going anywhere
Handbags: Moussa Diarra (right) is the subject of some consternation after a clumsy challenge of Jamie Stuart
Unhappy: Wayne Shaw is restrained by the fourth official as he joins in the debate
The following pictures are from the camera of Paul Loughlin
Blocked #1: Ali Fuseini lets fly but the Hemel defence close it down
Blocked #2: Jamie Taylor could not find a way past the Hemel back line
Happy: Dale Binns celebrates reaching the FA Cup first round proper
Job done: Sutton United boss Paul Doswell salutes the crowd at the final whistle
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