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Wycombe Wanderers 2
Wednesday 20th September 2006
Football League Cup 2nd Round
First half goals from Jermaine Easter and Tommy Mooney helped Wanderers dump Premiership Fulham out of the Football League Cup in a tense cup tie at Craven Cottage. Heidar Helguson pulled one back for Fulham just two minutes into the second half, but Wycombe resisted any comeback to deservedly book their place in the third round for the first time in their history.
Victory for Wanderers came after Fulham made nine changes from the side which drew at Spurs the previous weekend but their team still boasted internationals and those with Premiership experience. Paul Lambert’s side became only the second team to beat Fulham to date in the 2006/7 campaign, and the first since Manchester United best The Cottagers on the opening day. It was also Wycombe’s eighth successive win under Lambert.
Team news for Wanderers had seen Lambert drop on-loan Fulham keeper Ricardo Batista out of courtesy to the Premiership club. But this decision came even though Fulham boss Chris Coleman had made no such requests to Wycombe. James Young, who played in the previous round at Swansea, was Batista's replacement. Elsewhere, Vincent Fernandez got his Wycombe debut because of an injury to Sam Stockley.
Wycombe were ahead by the 8th minute. Easter started and finished the move which ended with him smashing the ball past debutant Czech Republic 'keeper Jan Lastuvka after Matt Bloomfield’s effort had been blocked. Former Fulham youngster Kevin Betsy also went close to extending Wanderers lead when he miscued a volley after Chris Palmer, returning to the Wycombe side for the first time after dislocating his shoulder, picked him out with a deep cross.
Fulham responded when Wayne Routledge picked out Helguson with a low cross, who prodded the ball goalwards only for debutant Fernandez to clear off the line. A minute later, it was Scott Golbourne’s turn to clear off the line from Michael Timlin. On-loan Golbourne was not allowed to play in the first round, but his parent club Reading gave permission 24 hours before the tie at Craven Cottage.
Wanderers survived and doubled their lead on 41 minutes. Easter’s pace caught out Carlos Bocatiegra and the American international brought him down giving the referee no option but to award a penalty. Mooney provided the cool head in sending the keeper the wrong way to put Wanderers in dreamland. And it could have been 3-0 two minutes later had Lastuvka not managed to tip Mooney’s clever lob over the bar. The home fans promptly booed their team off at the break.
The previous season, Wanderers had led Aston Villa 3-1 at the break but ended up losing 8-3 and thoughts of that outcome would have been recalled when Helguson reduced the deficit 120 seconds into the second half. Routledge went past Anthony Grant with ease and Bjorn Runström’s far post cross looked to be sailing into the net, un-assisted, before Helguson headed in to make sure.
Fulham suddenly looked a threat as Tomasz Radzinski, Runström and Claus Jensen all missed excellent chances to level the score. However, Wycombe re-grouped in defence and despite four added, nerve wracking, minutes of stoppage time, they held on to earn their place in the third round draw scheduled for the following Saturday.
Final Score - Fulham 1 Wycombe 2
The Wycombe boss added: "You’ve got to enjoy these nights because they are really hard to come by. We knew at half time that Fulham would come back at us but we stood up to it. If we were to get drawn against another Premiership club it would be sensational. If we were to go to Old Trafford or Anfield people might not give us an earthly but the lads deserve the chance and hopefully that will be the kind of draw we get."
Meanwhile, Wanderers Captain Tommy Mooney said: "To win eight games on the trot is fantastic. I never won my first medal until I was 27 but some of these lads in our dressing room can win one this year at 19 or 20.” Commenting on Manager Paul Lambert, Mooney added: "Paul Lambert’s organisation and authority within the club is very similar to Graham Taylor but I would say he’s carving out a career as Paul Lambert the manager."
Fulham boss Chris Coleman made not excuse for the defeat, saying “I’m not happy going out to a League Two team. We had seven internationals out there."
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