Brian McBride headed the winner in the last minute of extra-time as Fulham survived an almighty scare to beat League Two Lincoln City on a night of high drama at Craven Cottage.
The Premiership side appeared to be cruising into the third round when Zesh Rehman and Heidar Helguson struck within four first half minutes, but Lincoln were given hope by Francis Green after the break and a calamitous own goal from Moritz Volz sent the game into extra time. Chris Coleman’s side looked home and dry again when Liam Rosenior and Tomasz Radzinski quickly reestablished Fulham’s two-goal lead but Scott Kerr and Marvin Robinson replied for the Imps. The game was on the brink of heading to penalties until McBride’s last-gasp header broke Lincoln hearts.
All seemed to be going to plan for Coleman’s much changed side as they sauntered into a comfortable lead in the first half. Collins John linked up with Heidar Helguson along the right flank and the Icelandic international’s cross was perfectly measured for Rehman to head home his first Fulham goal – having been left totally unattended inside the penalty area. It was two four minutes later. Alan Marriott made a second stunning save from Collins John in a matter of minutes but Helguson was on hand to sweep in his first goal since his summer move from Watford.
The second half followed much the same pattern of stout Lincoln defending as Fulham worked the ball around patiently and there was no hint of drama to come until the 70th minute. Gary Birch burst through the centre of midfield and played in Green, who fired a venomous strike past young Fulham goalkeeper Ricardo Batista. Bedlam ensued in the Putney End when Volz somehow contrived to divert the ball past his young keeper following a Green cross.
That forced extra time and Fulham swiftly retook the lead. Liam Rosenior headed in a corner from Adam Green and when Radzinski crashed in a volley it appeared as if the Premiership side’s quality had finally told. That reckoned without Lincoln’s fighting spirit, though. Kerr curled a free-kick past Batista, who might have done better, and substitute Marvin Robinson bundled home a fourth from close range with five minutes to play.
Penalties were looming when McBride rose highest to guide home a Green free-kick in the last minute of extra time to end a night of extraordinary and unexpected drama.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Batista, Rosenior, Goma, Christanval, A. Green, Elrich, Rehman (Volz 81), Leacock (Radzinski 63), Timlin, Helguson, John (McBride 73). Subs (not used): Warner, Milsom.
BOOKED: Green, Christanval.
GOALS: Rehman (26), Helguson (31), Rosenior (95), Radzinski (95), McBride (120).
LINCOLN CITY (4-4-2): Marriott, Beevers (M. Robinson 75), Morgan, McAuley, Cryan, Brown, F. Green, Keates (Mayo 80), Kerr, Molango (Asamoah 97), Birch. Subs (not used): Bloomer, Ryan.
GOALS: F. Green (70), Volz (og 82), Kerr (101), M. Robinson (115).