Fulham recorded a convincing win over Stoke City to ensure their place in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup. Goals from Vincenzo Montella, making his first start for Fulham, Brian McBride and Tomasz Radzinski saw off the Potters’ challenge.
Stoke City, a side equipped with more than their fair share of Premiership experienced players, made a strong start to the match often looking to play in their danger man, Mamady Sidibe. But for all of their early thrust, they failed to trouble Jan Lastuvka and the match soon settled down to more reasonable pace.
Brain McBride came close to opening the scoring on nine minutes when a defensive mix up gifted possession to Liam Rosenior deep inside the Stoke penalty area. Rosenior played the short cross to McBride, who was waiting in front of goal, however the ball fell to his wrong foot and he was unable to direct his effort on target.
McBride’s effort only served as a warning shot, only a minute later Vincenzo Montella had the ball in the back of the net. Tomasz Radzinski’s powerful downward header forced a fine reaction save from Steve Simonsen but the ball rebounded back out to Radzinski who clipped a cross to the back post where Montella was waiting to gratefully volley home from close range.
Fulham then embarked on a keep-ball session in an attempt to take the sting out of a possible Stoke counter strike. In fact, by the midpoint of the first half, the visitors had yet to register an attempt on Fulham’s goal – largely thanks to the Whites’ tenacity when not in possession.
Liam Rosenior was the first player into the referee’s book on 26 minutes when he brought down Stoke’s on-loan winger, Lee Martin on the edge of the area.
The visitors piled players into the box for the free kick, which came to nothing after Jan Lastuvka cleared the danger with a purposeful punch. Minutes later, Lastuvka was called upon again to claim a dangerous cross, which he did so with commanding ease.
Fulham doubled their lead on 38 minutes with a well crafted goal. Vincenzo Montella dropped back into space and was found by Radzinski’s chipped pass. The Italian turned and played a ball through the heart of the Stoke defence which McBride latched on to and drilled past Simonsen.
The Whites ended the first half playing with an entertaining attacking swagger, backed up by a steely defence.
Stoke recorded the first chance of the second half after the visitors successfully exploited some space down Fulham’s left flank. The ball was worked from Liam Lawrence to Lee Martin whose fierce shot was well held by Lastuvka.
Tomasz Radzinski finished off a crisp passing move on 53 minutes to give the Whites a three-goal lead. The move started from the inside right position where Montella fed Volz. With the ball on his left foot, Volz cut a reverse pass through to Radzinski who finished well past Simonsen.
Montella’s participation ended on the hour mark when he was replaced by Clint Dempsey. As a result of the change, Radzinski was pushed up front alongside McBride and Routledge switched to the left flank, allowed Dempsey to play on the right wing. Liam Rosenior was replaced minutes later by new signing Simon Davies – who took up a central midfield position consequently Volz moved to right back.
Radzinski could have doubled his tally when he took advantage of some slack Michael Duberry defending to prod a half chance over the Simonsen and just wide.
Sitting on a comfortable lead, the Whites proceeded to slow the pace of the game down, giving Stoke very few opportunities to get on the score sheet.
Competition: The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON
Date: Saturday 27 January 2007
Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Team line-up is not available.
Team line-up is not available.