Stoke 2 Fulham 0
At a sparsely populated Britannia Stadium, Fulham suffered their first defeat of the season and crashed out of the Carling Cup.
Mark Hughes will be bitterly disappointed at the result, having played a strong side but the boss will also be deeply concerned about the extent of an injury suffered by Moussa Dembele in a horrific challenge by Andy Wilkinson.
Fulham, after Mark Hughes had stated his intent to have a real go in this domestic cup, made only one change for the trip to Stoke with Zoltan Gera coming in for Damien Duff compared to the eleven that had started at Ewood Park. Tony Pulis, on the other hand, made seven changes to the eleven that had drawn with West Ham on Saturday.
The game was settled by a goal in each half. After a poor opening period our hosts took the lead courtesy of Danny Higginbotham with the defender running to meet a Matthew Etherington corner in the twenty-third minute.
Fulham could have equalised before the game was put out of their reach but Clinton Dempsey hooked his shot over the bar after Zoltan Gera had created a decent chance.
The second goal was pure Stoke with Rory Delap launching a long throw into the box. In the ensuing kerfuffle Mark Schwarzer failed to collect the ball and Kenwyne Jones was on hand to finish any dreams of Carling Cup glory we had with only eleven minutes remaining.
A decent Carling Cup run would have been great but look on the bright side, our early exit gives us time to concentrate on the Premier League, that`s if we can fiend a striker or two!
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