Fulham edged past Wycombe Wanderers to reach the second round of the League Cup after an incredible 4-4 draw at Craven Cottage this evening meant the Londoners triumphed 6-5 on aggregate.
The Whites, leading 2-1 from the first leg after Mike Conroy’s magnificent winner from the half way line at Adams Park, extended their advantage within five minutes. Paul Brooker burst clear down the right flank and pulled the ball back for an unmarked Aidan Newhouse to lift a finish high into the Hammersmith End net. The Whites went two up when Richard Carpenter lashed home from 20 yards after Conroy’s snapshot inside the area had rebounded into the midfielder’s path.
Keith Ryan gave the Chairboys a lifeline five minutes later when he fired unstoppable shot into the top corner from 35 yards after running from inside his own half. Newhouse appeared to have settled any nerves when he scored his second of the evening, diverting home Brooker’s deflected shot after the visitors had failed to clear a Steve Hayward free-kick.
Wycombe kept on battling and silenced the home crowd six minutes into the second half when Keith Scott turned home a cross from debutant Mo Harkin. It was Harkin himself who levelled the tie on the night, opening his Wycombe account with a terrific 25-yarder after being teed up by substitute Steve Brown. But Newhouse went from scorer to creator as he set up Fulham’s crucial fourth, finding space in the area to reach the byline and lifting a cross to the back post for his striker partner Conroy to head home.
That gave the home side some necessary breathing space, especially as Martin Taylor made magnificent saves to deny Conroy, Newhouse and Neil Smith. Wycombe made it a nervy finale when Fulham skipper Simon Morgan headed into his own net under pressure from Scott at a corner – with Mark Walton making a magnificent save from Paul McCarthy at the death to ensure it was the Whites who made it into the hat for the next round.
FULHAM: Walton; Lawrence, Herrera, Morgan, Cullip; Smith, Carpenter (Cockerill 83), Hayward, Brooker (McAree 66); Conroy, Newhouse (Scott 86).
GOALS: Newhouse (5, 41), Carpenter (24), Conroy (65).
WYCOMBE WANDERERS: Taylor, Carroll (McGavin 72), Ryan (Brown 57), Kavanagh, McCarthy, Forsyth, Cornforth (Stallard 82), Harkin, Simpson, Scott, Reid.
GOALS: Ryan (29), Scott (51), Harkin (61), Morgan (o.g. 81).
REFEREE: Steve Finch (Bury St Edmonds)