Farnborough Town have been landed the draw of their dreams in the fourth round of the FA Cup — as they will play host to last season's Premiership Champions and cup holders Arsenal.
It was lucky 13 for Boro in the draw, after Arsene Wenger's men were picked from the hat by former Spurs legend Steve Perryman live on BBC television. It is unknown as yet whether the tie will be staged at the AIMITA Stadium or switch to Highbury. Either way, it promises to be the most momentous day in the club's history, and will go down in Cup folklore.
Twelve years ago Ted Pearce took his Boro side to what many people thought would be the pinnacle of their dreams when they drew Billy Bonds's West Ham United in round three. However, this supercedes even that great memory as Boro will line up against a host of world superstars including Patrick Viera, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.
Boro chief Graham Westley guided his side in to the fourth round draw with a 3-2 victory at Darlington on Saturday.
Boro fan Dale Hancock said: "It's an absolutely fantastic draw for the club, we couldn't have asked for any better.
"Wherever the tie is played, it is going to be a day to remember."
Dean Wickham, landlord of the nearby Thatched Cottage Pub, added: "We are delighted for the fans, and for the club, we are really looking forward to it."
A full reaction to the draw will be in Friday's News and on this website later this week.
After a season that started with such mediocrity, Farnborough Town are moving into the land of fairytales after Danny Carroll made it a weekend to remember for Westley's high-flying outfit.
They say that the FA Cup is all about dreams coming true — but on Saturday, Boro certainly weren't dreaming. They reached the fourth round of the world's favourite knock out competition for the first time with a thoroughly deserved win at Feethams, and in fairness, the 3-2 scoreline could have been far worse for the north-east side.
First of all it was a minor miracle that the game went ahead. The overnight snow that had settled on the frosty surface of Feethams would have been more than enough for most referees to call for a postponement. Looking back, Darlo may regret keeping the pitch in such immaculate condition as Boro settled early into their stride.
The question on most Boro fans' minds before the kick-off was related to the strange absence of the Piper Brothers, Chris and Lenny. Rumours were rife that a bust-up had occurred after the shocker at Stevenage but surely this was not the time to leave out two of your most versatile and influential playmakers.
However, their replacements, Gary Butterworth and Gary Holloway, could not have stamped their authority on this game in a more positive manner and both played a pivotal role in the Conference side's dominance in the early stages.
In fairness, you could understand the involvement of Butterworth. The former Rushden & Diamonds man has been there, seen it and done it at this level. However, Holloway, for a player of fairly limited experience it has to be said, never looked out of his depth and worked tirelessly. If some fans had been left bemused by the manager's choice of team selection before the start, all was forgiven even before Boro took the lead in the ninth minute.
Until then, Darlo, it seemed, hadn't even set the alarm clock to get out of bed and they were well and truly caught napping when Rocky Baptiste dived full length to head home from Micky Warner's right-hand side cross.
The manner of the goal was a breath of fresh air. Not just because it gave the visitors the lead which they fully deserved, but because Baptiste is not one you would associate with putting his head in where it may hurt and his commitment simply set the tone for others to follow.
Westley would have been holding his head in disbelief just moments later though when a moment of indiscipline from captain Steve Watson allowed Darlo to settle and take a free-kick from just outside the area. Boro's inspirational leader seemed to raise an arm against Ashley Nicholls and the striker was on hand to make him pay when he headed home from Richard Hodgson's ball into the box from the resulting advantage.
One-one, and in truth it shouldn't have been. The Conference side was still playing the better football and Ken Charlery very nearly put them back in front in the 16th minute when he headed Butterworth's cross firmly towards the top right-hand corner. However, Chris Porter reacted well to turn the ball around the post.
Just a minute later though, Boro were in front once again when Carroll rose above former Middlesbrough defender Craig Liddle to direct a fine header past Porter, after Holloway had picked out the former Crawley man with a pin-point cross, again from the right-hand side.
At this stage Boro were rampant, but you sensed that when Baptiste put his effort just wide when he was clean through on goal that the third division side would somehow make Boro pay.
Tony Pennock — who himself enjoyed a fine afternoon — was called into action with a triple save on the half hour mark when he diverted efforts from Hodgson, Neil Wainright and Ian Clark but he could do little to stop the latter in the 36th minute. In a game where Boro's defending was more than up to the test, they were caught napping when Ryan Valentine crossed for Ian Clark to head home unchallenged to make it 2-2 and game on for Darlo.
From here everything including the kitchen sink was thrown at Boro, as Liddle and Richard Offiong — on loan from Arsenal — both saw their efforts beat Pennock in the Boro goal but not the woodwork as the half ended in a stalemate, much to the relief of the travelling fans.
What happened next? Well only the Darlo players will be able to answer that one. After enjoying such dominance at the end of the first half, they simply failed to come out with the same vigour at the start of the second.
Boro on the other hand, pick up where they had started in the first and after dominating possession in the early stages, got the goal that they had craved just before the hour mark.
After a high ball in the area fell into the path of Baptiste, the lanky striker did well to direct the ball into the path of the advancing Carroll, who had darted around the back of the defence on his own after sensing that there may be danger.
From just outside the six-yard box, he then made no mistake with a rasping shot that hit the roof of Porter's net. As Carroll reeled away in a much talked about snooker style celebration — apparently due to his resemblence to World Snooker Champion Peter Ebdon — the Darlo players appealed for an off-side but the goal stood and from here Boro simply went from strength to strength.
Baptiste then came close again on 63 minutes, but lost his footing in the box, while Carroll was denied a hat-trick a minute later when Porter saved well from close range.
Baptiste though, continued to threaten, and when he struck a 30-yarder against the upright in the 71st minute the home side were allowed to breathe again. The shot said much for Boro's play and the fact that they continued to attack was a clear reason for them coming away with the result.
Clark did force Pennock into action late in the game, but Nathan Bunce and Barry Laker stood firm in a dominant second half performance and Watson, who was also outstanding, held his players' nerves together to give Boro a memorable win.
BORO: Pennock 9, Warner 8, Gregory 8, Bunce 9, Laker 8, Watson 9, CARROLL 10, Butterworth 9 (Annon 90), Holloway 9, Charlery 8 (Vansittart 88), Baptiste 9.
Subs not used: Benstead, Green, Taggart. Ref: G.Salisbury. Att: 4260