Don Goodman eventually killed off Fulham’s spirited resistance with a stoppage-time goal that ensured Wolverhampton Wanderers progressed to the third round of the League Cup on a nervy night at Molineux.
The Wolves substitute, who replaced the injured Steve Bull, sped onto a superb defence-splitting pass from Robbie Keane and finished with aplomb from fourteen yards. Fulham worked hard to frustrate their First Division opponents, putting in a professional and positive display despite the unsettling speculation about Kevin Keegan’s imminent arrival at Craven Cottage that swirled around this fixture.
Current Cottagers’ manager Micky Adams missed the match – with assistant Alan Cork in charge on the touchline – and was unavailable for comment as reports claimed that former Newcastle manager Keegan is shortly to be unveiled as Mohamed Al-Fayed’s new chief operating officer. It is further rumoured that Keegan’s first appointment will see former England captain Ray Wilkins replace Adams as Fulham boss.
The Second Division side fought hard and would have impressed the absent Adams with their desire as they sought to wipe out their one-goal deficit from the first leg last week in London. Goodman could easily have broken the deadlock earlier but was ignored by Irish forward Keane, who wasted a good opportunity by shooting wildly after breaking away down the right. Keane did pick out Goodman in injury time to finally wrap up a stuttering victory.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS: Stowell; Smith, Kubicki, Atkins (Westwood 33), Williams; Robinson, Sanjuan, Ferguson; Bull (Goodman 55), Paatelainen, Keane. Subs (not used): Foley.
GOAL: Goodman (90).
FULHAM: Arendse; Morgan, Cullip, Lawrence; Carpenter (Scott 80), Herrera, Cockerill (Cusack 69), Hayward, McAree; Moody (Newhouse 84), Conroy.
BOOKED: Lawrence, Conroy.
REFEREE: Scott Mathieson