Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday January 23 2010
Fulham survived a right old ding-dong of a cup match against lower league opposition this afternoon and will be grateful they are through into the next round.
Roy Hodgson fielded a strong side with only the injured Pantsil, Zamora, Dempsey and Konchesky missing. Fears that Andrew Johnson may also have picked up another injury were fuelled by his absence. Entering the starting eleven were Kelly, Kallio, Nevland and Riise to fill the gaps.
On a pitch that wasn`t befitting Premier League status it was the home side that started strongly creating two decent chances early on with Schwarzer being called upon to foil a Symes low drive and also a McConville shot.
Fulham, struggling to get their passing game together in alien conditions, took the lead though with twenty-one minutes played, with probably their first direct attack. A Duff corner was flicked on at the near post by Gera and Nevland was on hand to score from close range.
But credit to the minnows as they hit back almost immediately although some might say Schwarzer gave them a helping hand. The ball looked to be going out of play but the Aussie keeper decided to keep it in play and it went a little awry when the ball was played to Symes who netted via a deflection off Hangeland`s leg.
Vitalised by the goal, Stanley started to get on top and a Grant shot that Schwarzer parried away had to be hacked clear by Hangeland. But Stanley were to be hampered by the dismissal of Kempton who earned a second yellow card, and a subsequent red, for going straight through the back of Gera with a tackle.
Despite being a man down Stanley started the second half well. A Symes deep ball saw Grant volley inches wide. But, when Fulham got a second just before the hour mark, the game was effectively over. A free kick was quickly taken, catching Stanley unawares, and when Nevland played the ball to Duff the Irishman made no mistake slotting home.
With a man advantage and a goal advantage, Fulham were in the driving seat and the home keeper made a good save to deprive Nevland, after he`d cut inside, tipping his drive over.
But with eighty minutes gone our passage into round five was secured when Gera netted a third. The goal came after Nevland fed Riise and his cross was netted by Gera from eight yards out.
Who do you fancy in round five then chaps?
Date:Saturday January 23 2010
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