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Fulham struggle past Swindon

last updated Sunday 03rd January 2010, 1:11 PM
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Fulham 1 Swindon 0

BOBBY ZAMORA'S hot streak continued as Fulham struggled past League One Swindon.

England hopeful Zamora lobbed a 16th minute winner but fit-again strike partner Andy Johnson had a second-half penalty saved in this lively FA Cup third-round clash.

The Cottagers took only two minutes to threaten.

The Robins' defence backed off the advancing Bjorn Helge Riise, who laid the ball off for Zamora to shimmy past a defender and shoot wastefully wide from 10 yards.

Swindon looked nervous in possession but finally created a chance on 11 minutes, Simon Ferry blazing Billy Paynter's knock-down wide.

But Zamora promptly made up for his early miss, latching on to Stephen Kelly's long ball before calmly lifting his ninth goal of the season over David Lucas.

Soon, though, Mark Schwarzer had to thwart Paynter's 18-yarder.

Johnson was clearly keen to impress after such a long lay-off.

And in the 30th minute he was inches away from turning in Paul Konchesky's cross.

But Swindon's physical presence up front sometimes troubled the Cottagers' defence, mainly through Paynter.

And it was the target-man who calmly controlled Kevin Amankwaah's cross before turning and shooting just over.

Paynter then shrugged off a challenge from Fulham's stand-in skipper Aaron Hughes and laid the ball off to Jonathan Douglas, who shot wide.

Zamora, though, headed a gaping opportunity wide from Greening's cross.

Fellow frontman Johnson then hit the side-netting after breaking down the right just before the break.

Swindon's bright start to the second period saw the well-placed Ben Hutchinson curl a tame shot straight at Schwarzer.

Zamora, though, glanced a close-range header over from Riise's corner.

Paynter remained lively up front for Swindon, winning a free-kick on the edge of box from which Alan Sheehan tested Schwarzer.

The away fans sensed an equaliser but the Robins almost went 2-0 down when Kagisho Dikgacoi broke and laid the ball off to Johnson.

The former England hitman teed up Clint Dempsey, but the American wideman was foiled by Lucas.

Fulham surged away once more soon after that, Lucas dashing out to trip Johnson inside the box.

The keeper was lucky to be merely booked and just as fortunate when Johnson hit his spot-kick meekly, enabling Lucas to dive to his right and save easily.

Lucas then had to thwart Dempsey after a neat turn on the edge of the box.

Johnson pulled away from his marker for a fierce shot sent wide.

And he left the pitch to a standing ovation when he was replaced by Zoltan Gera.

Paynter continued to menace, though, as the Robins kept the Cottagers on edge.

But Fulham just about deserved their place in the last 32.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly, Hughes, Smalling, Konchesky, Riise, Greening, Dikgacoi, Dempsey, Andrew Johnson (Gera 83), Zamora.
Subs Not Used: Stockdale, Baird, Nevland, Stoor, Kallio, Elm.

Goals: Zamora 16.

Swindon: Lucas, Cuthbert, Greer, Sheehan, Amankwaah, McGovern, Douglas, Ferry, Hutchinson (Macklin 65), Paynter, Ward (Timlin 86).
Subs Not Used: Smith, Jean-Francois, Peacock, Thompson, Henshall.

Booked: Lucas.

Att: 19,623

Ref: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).
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