Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Thursday August 28 2008
I suppose being in the draw for the third round, to be held this Saturday, should be something we should be thankful for after last night's nervy showing.
The Carling Cup remains one of those competitions that will always be ridiculed that is until you reach the quarter-final stage. If the FA Cup has salvaged back some of its pride in recent years, then those who market the Carling Cup need to grab the competition by the balls and reinvent it, otherwise it'll die on its feet.
Last night, despite the offer of pay-on-the-door, Fulham attracted precisely 7,584 to witness our debut in the competition this season. I don't know about pay-on-the-door as it was more a case of sit where you want once you entered.
Thankfully, those who did attend last night witnessed a game that did provide value for money and could, in time, go down as a classic cup tie.
Roy Hodgson, aware that his side do not have another competitive run-out for nearly three weeks chose to field a very strong side making only one change to the team that beat Arsenal with recent signing Fredrik Stoor coming in for John Pantsil. Despite rumours doing the rounds, there was no place for another recent signing, Andrew Johnson, in the starting eleven.
The game settled into an even affair before Fulham opened the scoring around about the half hour mark. Zoltan Gera, who was strangely quiet on Sunday against Arsenal, scored his first competitive goal for Fulham after some nice work by Bobby Zamora in the build up.
The goal should have been the signal for Fulham to put their visitors to the sword, but, and all credit to Leicester, they hung in well and got to half time only the one goal down.
The second half was one of those halves that ages you years, one of those halves that could quite easily give you a coronary. Leicester started like a house on fire and within ten minutes of the restart had not only equalised but taken the lead.
The equaliser came when their veteran player Paul Dickov slammed home a shot after Gradel's effort had been blocked and then Andy King curled a wonderful effort past the despairing dive of Mark Schwarzer.
Suddenly Fulham looked a little ragged, passes were going astray and you wondered whether we were about to crash out of the competition. Thankfully, our fate was to be settled, in the last ten minutes, by two wonder strikes.
Jimmy Bullard and Danny Murphy both struck glorious long range efforts to destroy any hopes Leicester had of making round three. Unfortunately, despite the warm feeling of that home victory over Arsenal, last night's showing will have given Roy plenty of food for though as we contemplate our mini mid-season break.
As for the next round - who do you fancy?
Date:Thursday August 28 2008
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