A sensational strike from Brian McBride turned this FA Cup fifth round replay on its head as West Ham wilted after dominated the first half and Fulham eased into the quarter finals. The Premier League side added late goals from Barry Hayles and Luis Boa Morte to book a trip to Old Trafford and provide manager Chris Coleman with a timely boost as he recovers from a leg infection.
This match, played on the anniversary of Bobby Moore’s passing, was an emotional affair and just as entertaining as the original tie between the two sides. Edwin van der Sar had arguably kept Fulham in the Cup as the Division One side carved out the clearer chances there and a similar pattern emerged in the first half here. The Dutch goalkeeper saved well from Kevin Horlock early on before Marlon Harwood rattled the base of the post and then was denied by a magnificent fingertip save in the twentieth minute.
David Connolly and Harewood spurned further opportunities to give Alan Pardew’s side the lead before Fulham finally hinted at their top flight quality. Moritz Volz extended Stephen Bywater with a snapshot from the right edge of the box and Luis Boa Morte then somehow sent a free header wide from Bobby Petta’s inviting cross just before half time. Bywater dashed from his line to prevent the Portuguese winger reaching a through ball just before the break as Fulham finished the half in more adventurous mood.
Malbranque wasted a good chance at the start of the second half when he failed to capitalise on being afforded too much time and space on the edge of the box by dragging his shot wide. Zat Knight then headed horribly high and wide after Carlos Bocanegra had flicked on a Sean Davis corner. Harewood miscued terribly when Connolly looked to have played him in, but West Ham were struggling to mount attacks with the same frequency as in the first half.
Davis drove wide from distance and Bywater made an excellent save from a low McBride shot as Fulham began to push the home side back. The breakthrough when it came was a sight to see as a forward ball from Bocanegra was beautifully controlled on his chest by McBride, who then volleyed majestically beyond Bywater. It was a goal worthy of winning any game and Fulham moved further ahead just three minutes later.
After Harewood had been denied by the feet of van der Sar, Fulham put clear water between themselves and their opponents when substitute Barry Hayles converted a Malbranque cross from close range. Boa Morte put the gloss on an excellent evening for Fulham he rifled home in the last minute as Fulham moved into the last eight after surviving a slow start.
WEST HAM UNITED (4-3-3): Bywater; Ferdinand, Dailly (Mellor 83), Quinn, Mullins; Horlock (Lee 79), Carrick, Etherington; Connolly, Deane (Lomas 73), Harewood. Subs (not used): Forde, Carole.
FULHAM (4-3-3): van der Sar, Volz, Bocanegra, Goma, Djetou (Knight 48); Legwinski, Davis (Pembridge 90), Malbranque; Boa Morte, Petta (Hayles 73), McBride. Subs (not used): Crossley, Inamoto.
GOALS: McBride (76), Hayles (79), Boa Morte (90).
REFEREE: Mike Riley (West Yorkshire).