Vincenzo Montella scored one and made two more as another masterclass from Fulham’s on-loan Italian forward shattered Stoke City’s hopes of an FA Cup upset at Craven Cottage.
The 32 year-old striker opened the scoring with a poacher’s finish from Tomasz Radzinski’s low cross and then turned provider to play in Brian McBride, who volleyed home a lovely second. The Roma legend played a part in Fulham’s third, finding Moritz Volz and the German’s precise pass was perfect for Radzinski to round off the scoring.
Stoke never seriously looked like causing an upset at Craven Cottage, with the Premiership side in the ascendancy early. McBride spurned a good chance to put Fulham ahead on ten minutes when he stabbed wide from a Liam Rosenior cross, but Montella quickly gave the Whites the lead from close range after Radzinski had seen a header saved. The Italian played a gorgeous ball to release McBride and the American finished unerringly inside the far post this time.
Radzinski added a third nine minutes after the break and it men have been worse for Tony Pulis’ men but Franck Quedrue’s curling free-kick flew fractionally over. Simon Davies made his Fulham debut as a second half substitute after finally concluding his protracted switch from Everton.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Lastuvka, Rosenior (Davies 65), Queudrue, Christanval, Bocanegra; Brown, Volz, Radzinski, Routledge; McBride (Jensen 77), Montella (Dempsey 61). Subs (not used): Niemi, Knight.
BOOKED: Rosenior, Volz.
GOALS: Montella (11), McBride (39), Radzinski (54).
STOKE CITY (4-4-2): Simonsen; Hoefkens, Duberry, Higginbotham, Griffin (Wilkinson 47); Lawrence, Russell, Matteo (Diao 53), Martin; Fuller (Rooney 65), Sidibe. Subs (not used): Eustace, Pericard.
REFEREE: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire).