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Fulham FC Results

FA Cup - Tuesday 22nd January 2008, 12:00 AM
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Bristol R
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Attendance: 11882
Referee: M Atkinson

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Match review

Bristol Rovers 0-0 Fulham (aet)
Bristol Rovers win 5-3 on penalties

Jimmy Bullard
Jimmy Bullard despite
pen miss a
Man of the Match performance
Substitute Craig Disley was Bristol Rovers' spot-kick hero as the Coca-Cola League One outfit knocked out Barclays Premier League strugglers Fulham from the FA Cup after a penalty shoot-out.

After 120 minutes of play failed to produce a goal, the third-round tie was decided by the lottery of a shoot-out, with Disley taking advantage of its only miss, by Jimmy Bullard, whose shot was saved by the excellent Steve Phillips.

The result was a stunning one for the Rovers faithful and their boss Paul Trollope, the ex-Fulham player, but yet more misery for new manager Roy Hodgson who has still to taste victory in his new post.

Match Stats Bristol R. Fulham
Goals 0 0
Possession 42% 58%
Goal attempts 17 14
On Target 8 6
Corners 10 1
Off-sides 2 3
Saves 9 11
Fouls 8 12
Yellows 0 1
Reds 0 1
source: Soccernet
Hodgson had been busy off the field in the build up to this replay, which had been delayed by a week by bad weather and had only been given the go-ahead in the morning.

Former Liverpool forward Jari Litmanen, now 36, arrived on trial, midfielder Leon Andreasen was signed from Werder Bremen and Rangers striker Daniel Cousin appeared poised to join them for £3million after a bid was rejected by Groningen for ex-Manchester United forward Erik Nevland.

Fulham's precarious Barclays Premier League position was the reason, and with the cup a lower priority Hodgson made six changes from the side that had been beaten 3-0 at home by Arsenal at the weekend.

Bullard, with two substitute appearances behind him, made his first start since his kneecap was ripped off its moorings at Newcastle in September 2006 and 19-year-old Wayne Brown was handed a debut, with goalkeeper Tony Warner getting a rare game.

Striker David Healy, with just one goal in his last 12 games, was recalled, as were defender Paul Konchesky and Chris Baird, and the opening exchanges saw Bullard and then Brown fail to hit the target from distance.

A clearer chance came Clint Dempsey's way in the 18th minute but Rovers defender Steve Elliott was able to get in the way at the crucial moment. And at considerable personal cost too as he had to be stretchered off to be replaced by Disley, with Phillips then tested by a wayward header from his own man, Aaron Lescott.

Fulham were finding the sticky conditions at a muddy Memorial Stadium difficult to cope with and, after Brown had headed a good chance over, Rovers began to apply some steady pressure.

The Fulham back-line withstood most of it but was almost fatally undone three minutes before the break when Chris Lines got the better of Baird down the left and poked the ball across the box. In came David Pipe to meet it but Warner pulled off a top-class block to keep his team level.

Rovers had twice been ahead in the 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage and attacked relentlessly after the restart.

Danny Coles' header clipped the top of the bar and Dejan Stefanovic had to get in the way of a Lines drive before the Rovers winger fluffed the next opportunity with too hasty an effort.

Healy had only occasionally been in the game but almost broke the deadlock on the hour mark with an audacious flick up and volley from 25 yards after the Rovers back-line had been unable to deal properly with an up-and-under from Bullard.

The ball was heading for the top corner but Rovers goalkeeper Phillips reacted smartly to palm it away with a dive to his left.

The Northern Ireland international then set up strike partner Dempsey for an even better chance but the American's first touch was not the best and he ended up stabbing the ball at the grateful Phillips.

Neither side was able to fashion a decisive chance before the end of 90 minutes, although Fulham needed Moritz Volz to block a Lines effort on the line.

Brown was replaced by South Korea international Seol Ki-Hyeon for extra-time and there was relief among the away fans when Aaron Hughes' alertness prevented Andy Williams from profiting from a Stefanovic slip.

The forward was immediately replaced by fresh legs in the shape of Sean Rigg but once again it was goalkeeper Phillips who was Rovers' key man with a block from Dempsey after Seol had set him up and Healy, under pressure, could only lob the rebound over.

Both sides were looking exhausted in the final 15 minutes although Rickie Lambert came close with a drive that hit the side-netting and a blocked header from the same player bounced agonisingly past Disley in the six-yard box.

Stefanovic, who had been booked near the end of normal time, received a second yellow just before end and could take no part in the shoot-out.

Lines scored Rovers' first but Bullard's reply was saved.

With everyone else finding the net, up stepped Disley and he made no mistake to put Rovers through by a 5-3 scoreline.

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson insisted his Premier League strugglers had nothing to be ashamed of following their FA Cup exit at League One Bristol Rovers.

With the two sides having drawn 2-2 at Craven Cottage and no further goals added in 120 minutes of play at the Memorial Stadium the tie was decided by a penalty shoot-out.

Rovers goalkeeper Steve Phillips produced the only save to deny Jimmy Bullard which allowed Craig Disley to seal a 5-3 victory for Paul Trollope's side.

The setback left Hodgson still searching for his first victory since succeeding Lawrie Sanchez a month ago and the former Finland boss has been busy lining up signings to beat the drop.

A number of first-teamers had been rested for the replay but Hodgson insisted the players he had called upon had not let him down.

He said: 'Of course when you lose games on penalty shoot-outs it leaves a bad taste in your mouth but it was a true cup tie played on a muddy pitch in difficult conditions.

'There were duels throughout the game and what pleased me was that we won a lot more than we have in recent weeks.

'We left one or two players out and our season, the battle against relegation if you like, starts on Tuesday but I must also say the ones who came in in their place did not let me down.

'This was typical cup football but I don't think we have any reason on Tuesday night to be ashamed of our performance.'

Hodgson was particularly pleased Bullard had been able to complete 120 minutes in his first start since suffering a serious knee injury in September 2006.

He said: 'To play as well as he did after 14 months out in such a difficult game was an enormous comfort for me. I was surprised he lasted so long.'

Rovers' reward is a fourth round trip to League Two Barnet on Saturday after the Bees won a shoot-out of their own to send Swindon out.

Paul Trollope - who used to play for Fulham - was delighted.

He said: 'I'm hugely proud. It was a great performance. We defended well when we had to and produced some good play going forward.

'We were disappointed not to be up at half-time but we kept going and had some good spells. To win with five penalties like that was great.'

Bristol Rovers: Phillips, Lescott, Hinton, Elliott (Disley 21), Jacobson, Pipe, Campbell, Coles, Lines, Williams (Rigg 97), Lambert.
Subs Not Used: Igoe, Walker, Carruthers.

Fulham: Warner, Baird, Bocanegra, Stefanovic, Konchesky, Volz, Bullard, Hughes, Brown (Ki-Hyeon 91), Healy, Dempsey.
Subs Not Used: Ricardo Batista, Davis, Milsom, Leijer.

Sent Off: Stefanovic (119, 2nd yel).

Booked: Stefanovic (90,f).

Bristol Rovers win 5-3 on penalties

Att: 11,882

Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

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