Fulham made a dominant start to this FA Cup Third Round tie, with Mousa Dembele forcing a good one-handed save from John Sullivan on five minutes after the Whites had survived an early goalmouth scare.
Fulham’s early pressure reaped immediate dividends when Danny Murphy, who was on the receiving end of a chorus of boos from the visiting fans, clipped a pass into space for Clint Dempsey to run onto and place his finish past Sullivan on eight minutes.
Fulham’s main threat in the opening exchanges came from Kerim Frei on the left wing, with the tricky Academy graduate giving Chris Solly little rest.
Following a lull in activity, Charlton showed that they were not out of the game when Yann Kermorgant forced an outstanding save from David Stockdale after Bradley Wright-Phillips teed up his strike partner on the edge of the penalty area. Kermorgant’s clipped effort looked to be sailing inside the far post, but a fingertip save from Stockdale denied the Addicks’ front man – the follow-up was struck into the side netting.
An uncharacteristic error in judgement from Brede Hangeland on 24 minutes allowed Wright-Phillips to seize possession of the ball in the area and draw a save from Stockdale on the goal line. There were more nervy moments for the Whites’ back line when on 29 minutes a deep, diagonal cross to the back post found Danny Green available. The Charlton winger volleyed the ball back across the face of the six yard box – fortunately there was no one available to apply the finishing touch.
John Arne Riise tried his luck with a well-hit long range effort on 38 minutes that flew narrowly wide of Sullivan’s left hand upright. Fulham looked comfortable with their lead but Charlton were still capable of creating threatening opportunities.
Charlton made a strong start to the second-half, looking far more effective as an attacking force. Within the first 10 minutes following the break, the visitors had forced two dangerous corners and had David Stockdale under far greater pressure than in the first-half.
A deflected shot from Danny Murphy on 53 minutes called for a stunning diving save from John Sullivan – as Fulham threatened to extend their lead.
But the Addicks went straight back on the attack and only two vital saves from Stockdale kept Fulham’s lead intact. The Fulham stopper first did well to save Bradley Wright-Phillips’ driven effort with his feet before tipping a long-range thunderbolt from Kermorgant over the bar.
Martin Jol replaced Kerim Frei with Damien Duff shortly before the hour mark and Republic of Ireland international almost netted with this first effort on goal – hitting a curling left footed shot that Sullivan did well to keep out.
Fulham extended their lead on 61 minutes as Clint Dempsey grabbed his second of the match. Dempsey and Bryan Ruiz exchanged passes on the edge of the area before Dempsey broke through and chipped a smart finish over the grounded Sullivan and into the back of the net.
The goal appeared to break Charlton’s resistance and front that point on Fulham’s attacks were far more sustained. Fulham continued to press for a third, with Bobby Zamora going close on two occasions.
Charlton still threatened from set pieces, with their corner deliveries particularly dangerous.
Bryan Ruiz won a penalty for the Whites 79 minutes after being brought down by John Sullivan on the edge of the six yard box. Clint Dempsey completed his hat-trick – thundering the ball past the Charlton custodian.Damien Duff rounded off the scoring in the 86th minute when his deflected shot spun past a wrong-footed Sullivan.
The Whites maintained a firm grip on the game leading up to the final whistle and comfortably saw out the remaining minutes to ensure their place in the hat for the next round of the Cup.