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FA CUP 2nd ROUND - FULHAM v HARTLEPOOL UNITED REPORT
Fulham eased into round three of the FA Cup here at Craven Cottage this afternoon after beating a game Hartlepool side 4-2.
Geoff Horsfield opened the Fulham scoring but Pool' equalised against the run of play shortly before half time.
The Whites then took the lead again soon after kick off when Paul Peschisolido nodded home a superb cross from the left hand side. However, Hartlepool still refused to lay down and levelled again when a superbly worked effort was finished to level the scores once more.
£2 million Barry Hayles was then substituted and replaced by John Salako - which seemed to spark Fulham into action as the home team pulverised the Pool' goalmouth with some neat football and lovely work down the wings from Matt Brazier and Gus Uhlenbeek.
Finally Fulham broke the resistance of Hartlepool with a goals from Simon Morgan and then again from Geoff Horsfield who was denied his hatrick late on with a superb save from keeper Hollund.
Fulham team: Taylor(6) Uhlenbeek(7) Brazier(7) Morgan(7) Coleman(7) Symons(7) Bracewell(7) Hayward(6) Peschisolido(7) Hayles(6) Horsfield(8)
Subs used: Salako(7) for Hayles and Smith (not on long enough to judge his performance) for Bracewell
Overall performance 7 in this highly entertaining match.
FA CUP 2nd ROUND - FULHAM v HARTLEPOOL UNITED match preview
Fulham appear to have an easy route into round three with this home tie against Hartlepool at Craven Cottage. However, with the Whites in poor form of late and with confidence low, the experience of cup levelling football might prove a little more dangerous than it appears on paper.
Wayne Collins is still missing with a groin injury and Dirk Lehmann also misses the match. Kevin Keegan will surely look to find a formation and stick with it, and I have a feeling that's going to be a 4-3-3 with Simon Morgan being the fall guy... we'll see.
Hartlepool of course have nothing to lose and will I'm sure prove stiffer opposition than we imagine. If the 'Pool can nick the first goal, then we've got a serious game on our hands... however I feel that Fulham will be too strong and predict a confidence boosting 2-0 win for the Whites...
Likely Fulham team: Taylor, Uhlenbeek, Brevett, Symons, Coleman, Salako, Bracewell, Trollope, Peschisolido, Horsfield, Hayles.
For a report on the Leigh RMI replay match please visit the archive pages
FA CUP 1ST ROUND Vs LEIGH RMI
Leigh RMI v Fulham 1st round replay - match preview
Surely there cannot be another performance like the last. It's simply not possible is it? I'm talking about of course, the display of goalkeeping by David Felgate that the Craven Cottage crowd were 'treated' to in the first tie against the two clubs...
Confidence is high in the Leigh camp and a great 4-1 home victory against Conference opposition was gained on Saturday, proof if we needed it that there's a more than half decent side hiding behind that rather soppy looking name. (No offence meant)
If we thought the game at Fulham was the biggest in Leigh's players lives, then the replay on their home turf in front of the live SKY tv audience is even bigger... and they will have nothing to lose once again.
However, if anyone reading this thinks I'm preparing grounds for a shock here they can forget it. I think even the most staunch Leigh supporter would admit that in the first tie they swallowed up a seasons luck in just 90 minutes and this time things will be different.
Barry Hayles won't be able to play so expect the return of Dirk Lehmann - and Wayne Collins still looks highly unlikely after picking up a groin injury in training last Thursday. I also have a feeling that Matthew Brazier may just be given a chance to show what he's made of at left wing back? We'll see...
Kevin Keegan is likely to stick with Saturdays 5-2-3 formation and I believe that this time Leigh will feel the full force of a rampant Fulham side who'll make no mistake at the second attempt.
Look out Leigh - your time has come... TFi prediction: Fulham coast home 0-5
Likely Fulham team: Taylor, Finnan (Or Uhlenbeek), Brazier, Morgan, Coleman, Symons, Bracewell (Or Smith), Peschisolido, Lehmann, Horsfield.
Fulham 1 v 1 Leigh RMI match report
A frustrating afternoon then as Fulham allow their fixture congestion to build up even further after failing to despatch little Leigh RMI.
In all fairness it ended up being one of those days. Leighs keeper will never play another game like that agin in his life and has never played like that before. How do I know? Simple, cos if he did he'd be playing in the Premiership!
Fulham had the entire 90 minutes, mostly of continual pressure. Dirk Lehmann alone could have had a first half hatrick, denied only by Fellgates heroics - and the statistics show that Fulham had a massive 31 shots on target to Leighs 2.
It was Leigh however that took the lead after a superb free kick was bent around the Fulham wall on 20 minutes and past the grasp of Maik Taylor.
Lehmann then had a superb effort which was only matched in quality by the save it prompted and Fulham really pounded the Leigh goalmouth.
Dirk Levelled for the whites on 36 minutes meeting Haywards corner and netting with a super header.
If the first period drew heroics from Fellgate then second half saw a performance of sub human quality! Pesh, Lehmann, Trollope, Collins and Horsfield were all denied with stunning saves and what Fellgate couldn't manage, the bar did for him with the woodwork twice being tested.
Two penalty decisions were then waved away, the first clearly a blatant trip but by then I think even the ref had decided that Leigh had earned their draw!
Fulham team: Taylor(5) Uhlenbeek(6) Brevett(6) Symons(6) Coleman(6) Davis(4) Collins(6) Salako(6) Hayward(6) Lehmann(7) Peschisolido(7)
Subs used: Trollope(6) Horsfield(7) over all performance (6) MoM: David Fellgate (Leigh RMI) Come on... I had to give it to him.
Fulham v Leigh RMI match preview
The FA Cup has always thrown up the odd freak result and always will. That's the whole reason the glamour of this competition is legendary throughout the football World.
Fulham's home record against non-league opposition isn't that great - and I won't remind you of recent histories results against part timers!
Leigh are indeed an unknown quantity and of course they'll come and play their part as these type of teams usually do. They'll bring their 'faithful' few hundred and then the 1000 supporters of other clubs who fancy a day out and the prospect of a laugh at the 'big boys' expense.
Wether Kevin Keegan will decide to put out a full strength team remains to be seen but If it were up to me, I'd play the reserves and sod the FA Cup. It's the other piece of silverware I'm more interested in, that of the 2nd division Championship.
Maik Taylor may be unavailable due to an International call up and one hopes that players like Chris Coleman will have earned a rest.
Whatever, Fulham will be too strong for Leigh and nothing short of a home win is even imaginable.
TFi prediction: Fulham 3 v 0 Leigh