First Division Fulham caused one of the shocks of the FA Cup third round as they eased past Wimbledon on a sunkissed day at Craven Cottage.

The Dons, who famously won the competition in 1989, were hit by a serious injury-crisis in the run-up to this fixture and never recovered from Fulham’s fine start which saw Wayne Collins and Steve Finnan fire Paul Bracewell’s side into a two-goal lead inside the first half an hour.

The Whites had already tested Neil Sullivan with early efforts from Barry Hayles, whose brace at Luton last month had set up this London derby, and Geoff Horsfield, who ensured Wimbledon’s makeshift defence had a day to forget. Just when it appeared as though the visitors had weathered a ferocious Fulham start, they conceded the opening goal. Former Sunderland midfielders Kevin Ball and Lee Clark ferried the ball to Hayles in the area and the striker’s deep cross was gleefully head home by Collins at the back post.

It took just three minutes for the Cottagers to double their lead. Clark sent Hayles surging away from a horribly square Wimbledon defence, which waited in vain for an offside flag to be raised. The striker then produced a precise cut back that left Finnan with the simplest of finishes. The visitors did respond with their brightest period of play coming before half time but Damien Francis drilled a decent chance over the bar right on the interval.

Fulham remained in control for much of the second half and Collins’ second of the afternoon – which killed off the contest – was a classical team goal. The home side held the ball expertly with patient passing before Horsfield injected some forward moment into the move, powering his way to the dead ball line before crossing for Collins to apply the finishing touch. Bracewell beamed in delight on the touchline.

This was the perfect way for the Whites, who have underperformed of late in the league and proven particularly goalshy, to warm up for their League Cup quarter-final against Leicester City at Filbert Street on Tuesday.

FULHAM (5-3-2): Taylor; Finnan, Morgan, Symons, Coleman, Melville; Ball, Clark, W. Collins; Horsfield, Hayles (Peschisolido 85). Subs (not used): Hahnemann, Brevett, Hayward, Trollope.

GOALS: W. Collins (22, 77), Finnan (25).

WIMBLEDON (4-4-2): Sullivan; Cunningham, Hreidarsson, Wilmott, M. Andersen; T. Andersen, Francis (Ardley 45), Euell, Leaburn (W. Gray 45); Cort, M. Gayle. Subs (not used): Heald, Badir, Earle.

REFEREE: Jeff Winter (Middlesbrough).