Fulham crashed out of the FA Cup at the fifth round stage after an underwhelming performance at Bolton Wanderers. Kevin Davies’ early goal sent the hosts through to the quarter finals, with Papa Bouba Diop seeing a late effort scrambled off the line.
Bolton, now ten games unbeaten since the turn of the year, were the far better side and took an early lead when Henrik Pedersen picked out Davies, who steered his eighth goal of the season inside Edwin van der Sar’s near post. That sparked Fulham’s first serious spell of pressure with Andy Cole driving over after escaping from Hierro and then shooting wide after being played in by Lee Clark.
Tomasz Radzinski also failed to trouble Jussi Jaaskelainen after breaking free down the left flank and Boa Morte blasted wide in stoppage time. Hierro hammered a free kick just wide of van der Sar’s goal at the other end as Bolton went in one goal to good at the break.
Sam Allardyce’s side came out stronger in the second period and van der Sar had to fist away an inswinging free-kick from Hierro under significant pressure. Davies almost fashioned a shooting opportunity from a long kick downfield by Jaaskelainen but Fulham just about managed to clear the danger.
Jaaskelainen then made strong saves from Cole and Radzinski in quick succession before Diop drove over from long range. Pederson should have settled matters with twenty minutes to go but his hesitancy in the box allowed Alain Goma to get a block in. van der Sar parried away a powerful Hierro free-kick with six minutes to go and Fulham frantically went in search of an equaliser to keep their own Cup dreams alive. Diop, the scorer of so many late goals for Fulham this season, almost provided it but Ricardo Gardner got back to hack his effort off the line.
BOLTON WANDERERS (4-5-1): Jaaskelainen; Hunt, N’Gotty, Ben Haim, Candela; Hierro, Fadiga (Gardner 62), Okocha (Barness 85), Speed, Pedersen (Nolan 71); Davies. Subs (not used): Poole, Vaz Te.
BOOKED: Speed, Nolan.
GOAL: Davies (12).
FULHAM (4-3-3): van der Sar; Rosenior, Bocanegra, Knight, Goma; Diop, Clark, Legwinski (Jensen 72); Radzinski, Boa Morte (John 77), Cole (McBride 81). Subs (not used): Crossley, Pearce.
REFEREE: Howard Webb (South Yorkshire).