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Fulham book their place in the last eight

last updated Monday 15th February 2010, 1:07 PM
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Fulham 4 - 0 Notts County

Fulham booked their place in the last eight of the FA Cup with a deserved win over League Two side Notts County.

The Magpies showed endeavour but lacked true quality and fell behind in the 22nd minute when Simon Davies' shot found its way in at the far post.

Fulham were the better side throughout and were 2-0 up at half-time, courtesy of Bobby Zamora's superb finish.

Damien Duff's near-post finish and substitute Stefano Okaka's breakaway strike rounded off a comfortable win.

The Cottagers justified the 65 league places that separate the sides with a professional and efficient display that ensured their progress to the last eight of the competition.

In contrast, the result is one final blow in what has been a desperate week for Notts County.

The last seven days have seen them sold for £1, Sven-Goran Eriksson resign as director of football, revelations of debts totalling close to £4m and a £300,000 tax bill that threatens their very existence.

It is a long way from last July when they were taken over by Middle Eastern consortium Munto, with the much-heralded plan of leading the league's oldest club to the top flight within five years.

Such lofty ambitions have now been drastically readjusted but the lowest- ranked team still standing in the FA Cup at the time of kick-off did their utmost to capitalise on a rare chance to test themselves against Premier League opposition.

They worked hard throughout and frustrated their hosts for long periods but ultimately lacked the quality to truly threaten the home side or hold out against their more incisive attacking play.

Fielding the same side that beat Burnley 3-0 in their last Premier League fixture, the home side were quickly into their stride, fashioning the first chance of the match which Zamora flashed across goal.

County's Ben Davies drew a good save from Mark Schwarzer with a long-range shot in the 16th minute but this proved to be the prelude to Fulham taking the lead soon after.

Danny Murphy's chip found Simon Davies on the edge of the area and he was able to turn and fire a shot that found its way through defender John Thompson's legs and past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Despite the setback, County maintained their workrate and almost drew level when Craig Westcarr latched onto a flick by Lee Hughes and forced Schwarzer into a full-stretch save.

Fulham always looked the more threatening going forward though and it was no surprise when Zamora made it 2-0 just before half time, collecting a backheel from David Elm and firing in at an angle from 18 yards.

There was plenty of effort from the visitors after the break but Fulham had enough experience and ability to hold them at bay, restricting them to two long-range speculative efforts from Ben Davies.

With 16 minutes to go Duff struck to end any hope County had of getting back into the match.

The Republic of Ireland winger cut inside from the right flank and fired through Johnnie Jackson's legs and in at the near post.

Shortly after, Okaka - who had only been on the field three minutes as a replacement for Zamora - raced clear of the County defence before firing past Schmeichel for his first goal in Fulham colours.

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson:
"We'll be highly motivated and nervous about the quarter-final because we badly want a good result.

"It would mean a lot to us. It would be another major step forward with the progression at the club.

"Success is probably a continued presence in the Premier League, if we could go one step further that would be fantastic.

"This was a real potential banana skin and I'm just happy we didn't slip up on it.
I wasn't wrong to suggest they would give us a good game."

Notts County caretaker manager Dave Kevan:
"The players were fantastic and worked tremendously hard.

We created some good chances in both halves so I'm proud how they played. They can take credit for that.

"They have to take that performance and transmit it into League Two football.

"We felt the scoreline flattered Fulham, it was a bit harsh on us. They were more clinical, as you'd expect.

"There is a lot of football to be played. The aim is to get out of League Two and we can still do it."
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