Junichi Inamoto came back to haunt Fulham as the Japanese midfielder capped a brilliant performance with a stunning winning goal to send West Brom through to the fourth round of the League Cup after extra time.
The ex-Arsenal midfielder, who spent a season on loan with Fulham, delivered what Bryan Robson described as his best game since moving to the Baggies and made the opening goal for Robert Earnshaw inside four minutes. Luis Boa Morte dragged Fulham level after an hour but a dreadful mistake from Tony Warner allowed Kanu to put the visitors back in front with two minutes to play. A fine header from Heidar Helguson sent the game to extra time, where Inamoto removed the need for penalties with a stunning thirty yard strike.
Paul Robinson was sent off for kicking out at Zat Knight and Robson is yet to decide whether to appeal against that decision.
Earnshaw fired Albion in front after latching onto Inamoto’s brilliant through ball just three minutes in – but the concession of an early goal only inspired Fulham to get numbers forward. Steed Malbranque looked their most threatening player – twice going close to equalising – before playing in Boa Morte on the hour and the Portuguese winger fired his second goal in his many games low past Kusczak.
Earnshow nearly put West Brom back in front when he lashed wide after a strong run but Robson’s men punished Warner for horribly miscontrolling a backpass with time running out as Kanu nipped in to roll in what looked like the winner. Helguson powered home a brilliant header from a free-kick just a minute later after his clever run caught out the visiting defence – and we had thirty minutes’ more entertainment to enjoy.
Inamoto saved the best until last; lashing home an unstoppable long-range effort in the first period of extra time to knock out his old club.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Warner; Leacock, Rehman, Knight, Rosenior; Legwinski (Diop 45), Malbranque, Elrich, Boa Morte; Helguson, Pearce (Bocanegra 93). Subs (not used): Batista, Goma.
BOOKED: Boa Morte, Diop, Pearce, Knight.
GOALS: Boa Morte (63), Helguson (90).
WEST BROMWICH ALBION (4-4-2): Kuszczak; Scimeca, Moore, Clement, Robinson; Wallwork, Inamoto, Carter (Chaplow 54), Kamara (Campbell 99); Earnshaw, Kanu (Gaardsoe 90). Subs (not used): Kirkland, Horsfield.
SENT OFF: Robinson.
GOALS: Earnshaw (8), Kanu (88), Inamoto (99).
REFEREE: Andy D’Urso (Essex).