Jan 16 2013 By Paul Warburton
Blackpool 1-2 Fulham
JUST when it looked as if the 1975 FA Cup runners-up wouldn’t be troubling either Manchester United or West Ham in the fourth round – up popped Kieran Richardson and Brede Hangeland.
Richardson’s wonder strike from at least 25 yards flew past keeper Michael Gilkes for the last kick of normal time - and then just four minutes from penalties, Hangeland connected sweetly with Damien Duff’s corner to head the Whites into a plum tie.
It looked all over when Fulham fell to the sucker-punch of a late goal by Nathan Delfouneso and only had themselves to blame.
The dreadful pitch was so sandy it was difficult to tell it from the nearby beach. But that was no excuse even though the Whites made five changes from the team that claimed a draw against Wigan on Saturday and had a hatful of half-chances to seal the win in the regulation 90 minutes.
Blackpool had one clear-cut chance and took it.
A terrible kick in the air from Matthew Briggs fell invitingly for Delfouneso who lashed home from six yards with eight minutes left.
Before that, it looked as if Fulham would surely make progress as they totally dominated possession, Fulham rarely tested the Blackpool goal.
Mladen Petric sliced an early effort wide as did Alex Kacaniklic, before Ashkan Dejegah got closer only to hit straight at keeper Michael Gilkes.
Hugo Rodallega was closer still when he connected at the back post, but somehow Gilkes got something to the effort that came at the striker too quickly for anything but a snap shot.
A Chris Baird header as he met a bouncing corner from Giorgos Karagounis evaded the back post by an inch.
Blackpool made Mark Schwarzer work for the first time just after the break when much-coveted Tom Ince brought a save out of the Aussie, and then Gary Fletcher-Taylor missed a free header at the back post.
Dejegah’s shot was on target until it hit poor Petric just past the hour, and again Rodallega on the turn this time really brought a cracking stop out of Gilkes.
It looked curtains when Blackpool went ahead, but Fulham deservedly took the encore.
Fulham 4-1-3-2: Schwarzer; Riether, Senderos (Hughes 71), Hangeland, Briggs; Karagounis; Dejegah, Baird, Kacaniklic (Richardson 87); Petric (Duff 79), Rodallega.
Substitutes not used: Stockdale, Riise, Kasami, Grimmer.