There was a superb Cup tie atmosphere inside a packed Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night and the Whites got the game underway.
After a frantic start to the game Fulham began to find their passing game but neither side threatened during the opening exchanges. Conditions underfoot were clearly taxing with the ball being held up on a heavy, bare pitch. Jimmy Bullard fired in Fulham's first shot of the game, trying his luck with a 30 yard, right footed effort, which flew just wide of Phillips’ goal.
A full blooded affair, Fulham were up for the battle, highlighted by two crunching tackles from Volz and Baird in the opening ten minutes. Danny Coles wasted Bristol’s first clear opportunity on goal, firing over Warner’s goal from the right hand side of the area.
Referee Martin Atkinson overruled the linesman’s decision for a throw-in down Fulham’s left and the resulting throw-in was launched into Warner’s area. Fulham eventually cleared but the home support were inspired by the passage of play.
Clint Dempsey almost broke the deadlock after a fine passing move by Fulham, but his right footed shot to the far post was deflected wide by Steve Elliot. The big central defender’s heroics left him grounded and Manager Paul Trollope was forced to replace the injured Elliot with Craig Disley.
Moritz Volz, showing tremendous determination and skill, beat three opponents down the right flank to turn defence into attack. Volz’ combatative, energetic style was required in midfield to combat Rovers’ physical edge in the middle of the park.
The pressure was on Fulham after the half hour mark. Rovers attacked down the flanks and Fulham’s defence was forced into several late intercerptions to keep the home side at bay.
It was all Rovers before the break and Fulham were on the back foot. The home side created two good opportunities to take the lead and the Whites were fortunate to go into the break on level terms after two minutes injury time.
Seconds before the break Jimmy Bullard chased his man for 30 yards down the touchline before launching into a full-blooded sliding tackle. A great sight for the Fulham fans at the Memorial Stadium before the half-time whistle.
Bristol Rovers got the second half underway and the home side created a moment of danger in the opening seconds after a cross from the right flew across Warner's goal.
Jimmy Bullard was bundled over 30 yards from goal and Fulham worked the free-kick to Volz who fired in Fulham's first effort of the second half, but the ball flew high and wide.
Both sides showed greater attacking guile in the second period but it was home side who looked more likely to break the deadlock. Fulham were under pressure but retained their composure to keep Rovers at bay.
David Healy produced a moment of magic which almost earned the Whites the leaad just before the hour mark. A deep cross from the right flew towards Healy on the right hand side of the area and the striker fired in a curling right footed volley. The ball was heading for the top corner before Phillips produced a fine fingertip save.
Rovers keeper Phillips denied Fulham once again when Clint Dempsey raced into the area chasing Healy's cute through ball. The American forward stretched to poke the ball towards goal but Phillips dived to his left and denied Dempsey.
The pitch was cleary deteriorating as the game wore on making any attempts to play a passing game incredibly difficult. There was a moment of panic when Baird's clearance in the area flew back towards goal. As the ball looped high Warner was forced to punch clear. The ball fell to Chris Lines whose shot was fortunately blocked and cleared to safety.
Moritz Volz was dispossessed in midfield and Rovers attacked with a three-on-three situation. The ball was eventually fired in by Lines but once again Fulham were saved in the final third by some last ditch defending. Seconds later Rovers had a chance cleared off the line and two subsequent corners severely tested the Whites defence.
Dejan Stefanovic earned himself a yellow card from Referee Atkinson after fouling Lescott on the half way line. Neither side threatened before the 90 minute mark but right after the Fourth Official displayed two minutes of added time Carlos Bocanegra produced a superb block inside the area to deny the home side at the death.
Full TIme: Bristol Rovers 0 - 0 Fulham
Roy Hodgson replaced debutant Wayne Brown with Seol Ki-Hyeon on Fulham's right flank and the substitution almost paid dividends in the first half of extra time.
David Healy skipped past his marker on the right flank and crossed from the right by-line. Dempsey reached the cross and fired in a right footed shot across goal but once again a late block denied the American from breaking the deadlock.
A defensive mistake by Stefanovic set Lambert through on goal for a on-on-one with Warner. As the striker raced into the area Aaron Hughes raced back and produced a superb last ditch tackle to block the striker's shot on goal.
Rovers manager Paul Trollope replaced Andy Williams with Sean Rigg moments after Fulham substitute Seol tested Phillips with a right footed shot which Phillips saved well from.
After good work from Seol on the right flank Clint Dempsey fired in a stinging shot on goal and Phillips' save fell to Healy, lurking on the edge of the area. The striker sent a lob over the Rovers defence but the ball looped over the bar.
Rovers earned two coners in the opening minutes and from the second Chris Lines fired in a 30 yard volley from the rebound. The ball flew wide and from Warner's subsequent goal kick Dempsey flicked the ball onto Bullard, racing into the area. The midfielder sent a right footed volley in on goal but the strike lacked the power to seriously test Phillips.
A good cross from Seol on the right flank reached the near post and Dempsey flew in to meet the ball. The American's contact sent the ball wide but a brave effort by the American under pressure from two defenders.
Lambert, 25 yards from goal on Rovers' left flank, fired in a superb right footed shot with the outsde of his boot. The pace of the shot had Warner beaten but the ball went just wide of the post.
29 mins - Red Card - Dejan Stefanovic
David Healy's pass across the middle of the park was intercepted by Chris Lines and as the Rovers player burst forward Stefanovic stepped up from defence and his late tackle earned a second yellow card and subsequent red from referee Martin Atkinson.
After 120 minutes of football the game was at deadlock and it was time for penalties late into the night at the Memorial Stadium.
Competition: The FA Cup sponsored by E.ON
Date: Tuesday 22 January 2008
Venue: The Memorial Stadium, Bristol
Team line-up is not available.
Team line-up is not available.