Routledge breaks Foxes hearts
By Simon Fudge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Fulham came from 3-1 down to defeat Leicester City 4-3 in an FA Cup replay.
Fulham came from 3-1 down to defeat a spirited Leicester City side 4-3 in their FA Cup third round replay on Wednesday evening.
Despite Brian McBride's first-half strike, The Foxes led at half-time through goals from Matty Fryatt and Gareth McAuley.
Substitute James Wesolowski gave Leicester a two-goal advantage shortly after the restart, but a brace from Fulham substitute Vincenzo Montella dramatically restored parity at 3-3.
It set up Wayne Routledge to claim Fulham's winner in injury time to see them through to a fourth-round home tie with Stoke City, but the result was most cruel on The Foxes following their earlier efforts.
Cottagers boss Chris Coleman made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 with The Foxes in the original third-round tie at The Walkers Stadium.
Tony Warner replaced Jan Lastuvka in goal, while both Philippe Christanval and Franck Queudrue kept their places in the side after the dramatic 3-3 draw at London rivals West Ham United.
Rob Kelly's Foxes were unchanged from the original cup tie, as the Championship side went in search of a Premiership scalp in West London.
The first half belonged to the visitors, as Leicester looked the more dangerous side in the opening 45 minutes.
Fulham's ineptitude in front of goal in the first half was summed up by an early wasted chance, as the on-loan Routledge struck a left-footed free kick into the Leicester wall before blasting the rebound high and wide of the target.
Leicester's intent to reach the fourth round was made as early as the 13th minute when they claimed the lead on the counter-attack.
A fine forward ball from Stephen Hughes released former Walsall striker Fryatt in on goal, and after splitting both Christanval and Carlos Bocanegra, the youngster neatly finished past the onrushing Warner to give Leicester the lead.
The goal was a huge boost for The Foxes, and Fryatt again posed Fulham more problems with a surging run down the right flank before testing Warner with a left-footed strike.
Warner was then called on again to make an awkward save from Gareth Williams for a corner before Alan Maybury went close with a fine volleyed effort after Levi Porter's initial shot had deflected out to the defender.
Yet, for all of Leicester's dominance, The Cottagers drew level ten minutes before half-time, as Tomasz Radzinski eluded McAuley on the left before crossing for McBride in front of Leicester's goal.
The big American took the ball under control before slamming it past Foxes goalkeeper Paul Henderson.
The goal came against the run of play, but it did not deter the Midlands outfit, as they took a deserved lead into the break when McAuley beat his marker Queudrue at the far post to head home Porter's free-kick from the right.
The start of the second half saw Coleman introduce January loan signing Montella for the largely ineffective McBride, but it was a Leicester substitute who further extended their lead shortly after the restart.
Wesolowski had replaced Danny Tiatto before striking a fine shot past Warner from the edge of Fulham's box to give Leicester a 3-1 advantage.
Yet, just as it looked like The Foxes could think of hosting The Potters, Montella's introduction had the desired effect four minutes later.
The Roma hit-man scored his first goal for Fulham with his first touch when he easily converted Michael Brown's low cross across the face of Henderson's goal to make it 3-2.
The momentum started to swing Fulham's way, with Radzinski and Montella having efforts before Christanval brought some brave goalkeeping out of Henderson from a goal-mouth scramble.
On the hour mark, Montella got his second of the game when Routledge's corner flicked off a Leicester head to the Italian at the far post, and he could not miss from a yard out.
It proved to be a pulsating cup replay at this stage, with Fulham looking full of confidence going forward.
Queudrue was frustrated to see two headers from Routledge corners blocked away by the visitors before Henderson did well to save a similar headed effort from Bocanegra at close range.
Moritz Volz looked to strike a spectacular winner for the home side, but the German's effort from Montella's chipped pass flew wide.
Both sides continued to battle into injury-time, and though the game seemed destined for extra-time, Fulham completed their comeback through some dogged play from Routledge.
Though he seemed to be impeded by Wesolowski and Maybury, referee Alan Wiley allowed play to carry on and the former Crystal Palace winger took advantage by running towards goal and finishing past Henderson for Fulham's winner.
Their reward for winning Wednesday's cup tie is another game with a Championship opponent in Tony Pulis's Stoke in round four.
|Fulham||Team Statistics||Leicester City|
|1||1st Half Goals||2|
|7||Shots on Target||4|
|6||Shots off Target||4|