Wayne Routledge scored a dramatic injury time winner to round off a marvellous FA Cup clash in which Vincenzo Montella’s two goals pulled Fulham back into contention after Leicester took a 3-1 lead early in the second half.
Chris Coleman fielded the strongest possible line up for the visit of Leicester in this FA Cup Third Round replay. Tony Warmer, making his first start of the season for the Whites, was the only change from the side that took to the field against West Ham the previous weekend.
Both sides made reasonably positive openings with the visitors just edging the early possession figures before Fulham took hold of the game. The Whites were clearly looking to take an early lead, judging the number of players being committed forward. Unfortunately Leicester opened the scoring in the 12th minute amid suspicions of offside. Fulham lost possession in midfield and a first time ball over the top from the visitors ran into the path of Matt Fryatt who kept Bocanegra at bay before slotting past Warner.
The goal seemed to take the wind out of Fulham’s sails and moments later Fryatt was at it again. The Leicester striker ran into space down Fulham’s left flank before cutting back inside and trying his luck from 18 yards – Warner produced a routine save.
Warner was called into action again in the 24th minute when some smart Leicester passing on the edge of Fulham's penalty area culminated in Gareth Williams hammering a shot toward the top left corner of the Fulham goal which Warner clawed over the angle of the frame.
Wayne Routledge missed a fine opportunity to get Fulham back on levels terms when he failed to play Moritz Volz in for what would have been a certain shooting opportunity following a speedy counter attack.
Leicester were still enjoying the majority share of possession however the fact that they had not turned that possession into goals gave Fulham hope. Then on 35 minutes Brian McBride struck his eighth goal of the season. Tomasz Radzinski made good ground down the left flank before delivering a fine ball into the area. Heidar Helguson, loitering at the near post, allowed the ball to drift past and McBride drilled home a left footed shot from close range.
With three minutes of first half injury time having just been announced, the visitors re-established their lead when Gareth McAuley evaded the attentions of Franck Queudrue at the far post to head home Levi Porter’s dangerous free kick.
Vincenzo Montella replaced Brian McBride at the interval as Fulham looked to vary their front line in an attempt to get back on level terms. However Leicester drew first blood when James Wesolowski received the ball in space in the edge of the Fulham area and placed a fine finish beyond Warner.
Leicester’s two goal cushion lasted all of four minutes before Montella opened his Fulham account. The Italian striker had already shown his intent just seconds before his goal when his low shot stuck the post. With Fulham upping the pressure, Volz squared the ball across the face of the six yard box and Montella was on hand to side foot home.
Montella’s goal sparked the match into life as Fulham, backed by a vocal crowd, pushed for the equaliser. The Italian duly obliged on the hour mark when he headed home from short range following a Wayne Routledge corner, sending the home fans wild. Fulham 3-3 Leicester.
The Whites applied another turn of the screw on 67 minutes when two consecutive corners brought about two goal scoring opportunities. First Franck Queudrue saw his powerful header deflect over before Helguson’s effort, from the following set piece, worked its way through a goal line crowd before rolling out.
Fulham certainly had the momentum but Leicester were by no means a spent force – the situation left the match balanced on a knife edge.
The match nearly tipped in Fulham favour on 75 minutes when Carlos Bocanegra rose well in the penalty area but saw Paul Henderson pluck his goal bound header out of the air.
As the game entered the final ten minutes tensions on the pitch were clearly raised. Whilst both sides were still actively looking for the winning goal, the game was no longer being played at a frantic pace as nerves started to take over.
Wayne Routledge capped the evening off with a dramatic last minute winner. The winger looked to be safely contained on the right with three Leicester players in close attention. Then came a piece of magic. Routledge turned smartly and got away from all three markers, the linesman waved his flag for a foul on the Fulham player but referee Wiley played the advantage and Routledge calmly finished part Henderson.
Competition: The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON
Date: Saturday 6 January 2007
Venue: King Power Stadium, Leicester
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Team line-up is not available.
Team line-up is not available.