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Fulham lose at Everton Sun

last updated Monday 30th January 2012, 4:43 PM

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Phil Thomas at The Sun

Everton (1) 2 Fulham (1) 1

DENIS STRACQUALURSI turned his FA Cup dream into a sob story - and left Fulham to play the crying game all the way back to London.

Everton's on-loan Argentine bagged his first goal since arriving for the season from Tigre.

And the emotion of the moment moved him to tears in front of the Park End. You could say a case of don't cry for me, Argentina.

Super Stracq had double cause for those tears of joy when Marouane Fellaini headed a magnificent winner 17 minutes from time, to finally shatter Fulham's FA Cup hold on the Blues.

It was just reward for a battling display after falling behind to an early Danny Murphy penalty - and no one was a more popular goalscorer amongst the Blues than Stracqualursi. Goodison assistant boss Steve Round admitted: "Denis came over from Argentina on deadline day and has a tremendous work ethic.

"It's just taken him a while to settle in because we all know how difficult it is coming to the Premier League, especially when you don't speak the language.

"But recently we've seen him starting to get to grips with it and the lads absolutely love him, he's a terrific guy.

"He never complains, never moans, he's the first one in at training and does extra work with us in the afternoons too. If ever a player was paying the price to try and succeed, it's Denis."

Yet it looked as though Goodison fans were in for another 90 minutes of torment when they saw their side fall behind with less than a quarter of an hour gone - after the latest run-in between John Heitinga and Howard Webb.

It is safe to say the South Yorkshire referee did not exactly come close to topping Heitinga's list of favourite officials even before last night's fourth-round tie.

After giving a penalty for handball against the Dutch centre-back, he hardly sent himself rocketing up the popularity charts either.

True, Damien Duff's first-time strike did strike Heitinga on the arm as he slid across to try to block. But quite how he could possibly have got his arm out of the way even if he had tried desperately to do so, coming as he was at such speed, is anyone's guess.

To compound his agony, Webb produced a yellow card.

In eight games where he has officiated the Dutchman, Webb has now sent him off once - the 2010 World Cup final - booked him four times and given a spot-kick against him.

Murphy despatched the penalty, adding to the agony for the Everton fans who had booed him from the start, given his Anfield connections.

After bagging just 22 goals in as many league games, the omens were not brilliant for an Everton side even boss David Moyes admitted has struggled to entertain this season.

But Dynamic Denis' moment to remember in the 27th minute lifted the place when he flicked in a cross from American Landon Donovan.

It also gave watching Yanks something to smile about as Fox Sports beamed the tie live across the States.

After giving us Dynasty and Dallas, they could hardly complain at being sent Everton v Fulham!

And Donovan played an integral role with the 73rd-minute winner as the provider for Fellaini's header.

Everton would even have enjoyed the luxury of a little breathing space if David Stockdale had not somehow denied a Tim Cahill effort.

Yet after hitting two goals for only the second time in 12 games - the other against non-league Tamworth - no one was about to start getting too picky.

A place in the fifth round and some entertainment in front of their own supporters, at last, was more than enough for one night.

Everton: Howard, Neville, Duffy, Heitinga, Baines, Donovan, Gibson, Fellaini, Gueye (Drenthe 68), Cahill, Stracqualursi (Anichebe 83).
Subs Not Used: Hahnemann, Hibbert, Saha, Vellios, Baxter.

Booked: Heitinga, Gibson, Cahill.

Goals: Stracqualursi 27, Fellaini 73.

Fulham: Stockdale, Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, John Arne Riise, Duff (Zamora 79), Murphy (Trotta 87), Baird (Sidwell 82), Ruiz, Dempsey, Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Etheridge, Senderos, Frei, Davies.

Booked: Baird (73,f), Dempsey (86,d).

Goals: Murphy 14 pen (Handball by Johnny Heitinga. Placed penalty taken right-footed by Danny Murphy into bottom-right of goal).

Att: 25,300

Ref: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

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