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Cardiff City 1-2 Fulham FAC Rnd03 1617 - Daily Mail

last updated Monday 09th January 2017, 2:43 PM

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Ralph Ellis at Daily Mail

Cardiff City (1) 1-2 (2) Fulham

Whatever Cardiff get paid by BBC Wales for putting their FA Cup games on live TV it isn't enough. If it was billions, it still wouldn't be.

For the second year in a row they got knocked out of the third round in front of the ghostly atmosphere of a deserted stadium as a bizarre kick off time made thousands stay away.

Goals by Stefan Johansen and 16-year-old prodigy Ryan Sessegnon took Fulham through, deservedly even though Cardiff had taken the lead with an eighth minute deflected Anthony Pilkington free kick.

But the lack of atmosphere was always the biggest handicap to a club that reached the final of the grand old competition in 2008 but has now fallen out of love with it.

Boss Neil Warnock showed where his priorities lay by making six changes to the side that had beaten Aston Villa on Monday.

Cardiff's PA always plays a song by The Stand called 'I'll be there' before the teams run out. On this occasion it would have been more fitting to play Atomic Kitten's track 'I won't be there.' The attendance figure of 5,199 was less than a quarter of the crowd that had seen Monday's win over Aston Villa.

The mixture of an 11.30 kick off, a warning by boss Neil Warnock that he'd make changes, and the live coverage meant acres of empty seats.

Credit, then, to a couple of hundred Fulham fans who had made it. With no train due to reach Cardiff on time they had to battle through the fog on the M4 to support their team.

There was nothing foggy about manager Slavisa Jokanovic commitment to the game, though. He made just two outfield changes from the side that had lost at home to Championship leaders Brighton on Monday – one of them to bring in 16-year-old Sessegnon at left wing back.

Fulham began the game well, and Pilkington's eighth minute goal was very much against the run of play.

Goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli was left stranded as Anthony Pilkington's free kick from 25 yards out, heading for the left corner, took a deflection off Lucas Piazon in the wall and ended up in the right.

Fulham's response was excellent. Wing back Fredericks ran at Cardiff's defence, picking his way past two defenders before squaring the ball back for Johansen to sweep it into the net.

It was the Norwegian international's fifth goal in his last seven games and a sign of how Fulham have turned round their campaign.

And with 33 minutes gone Fredericks was the architect of the next goal too, as again he got to the byline and cut the ball back. This time Tom Cairney met it with a volley which hit the bar, and Sessegnon was alert to tap it home.

The youngster had already made history earlier this season as the youngest ever to score in a Championship match, and now he had an FA Cup goal to celebrate.

Cardiff looked shell shocked, and just couldn't cope with Fulham's movement and passing, with a scuffed long shot by Emyr Huws after 60 minutes their only hint of a response.

Even when Cardiff boss Neil Warnock sent on two subs with 20 minues left it failed to inject any spirit into the home team.

The difference in urgency and commitment was summed up when Johansen sprinted 20 yards to cut off a back pass to Cardiff keeper Brian Murphy, forcing skipper Sean Morrison to make a desperate clearance on the line.

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