Stelios Giannakopoulus struck an extra-time winner to send Fulham crashing out of the League Cup at Craven Cottage.
Sammy Lee gained a much-needed win despite making nine changes to the Bolton side that had drawn with Spurs on Sunday and he did it with four debutants in the team. It was the visitors who started the brighter and, even without both Nicolas Anelka and El-Hadji Diouf, they looked threatnening in attack. Daniel Braaten, one of those making his first appearance in a Bolton shirt, posed problems for the Fulham defence early on and saw his header stopped by Kasey Keller.
Swede Christian Wilhelmsson, also making his Trotters debut, looked a real danger down the Bolton right and Lee’s side’s slick passing, something of a departure from the up-and-at-’em approach favoured by Sam Allardyce, was proving difficult for Fulham to deal with. It was no surprise when the visitors went in front, although the manner of their opening goal, a thunderbolt from Danny Guthrie, was quite emphatic. The on-loan Liverpool midfielder cracked a shot past Keller from fully 25 yards to send the travelling supporters wild.
They nearly had more to celebrate just five minutes later as well. Nicky Hunt, pushing forward from full-back, found Braaten in plenty of space and the young striker shot inches wide of Keller’s near post. Lawrie Sanchez’s side were clearly second best in the first half, struggling to find any of the rythm that had characterised a lively display against Manchester City here at the weekend. It wasn’t as if the Fulham boss had made major changes either, opting only to bring the weekend goalscorer Danny Murphy in to strengthen the midfield.
Diomansy Kamara, introduced to great effect at half-time on Sunday, was a second half substitute but Bolton remained comfortable until Northern Ireland international David Healy was summoned from the substitutes bench. The former Preston and Leeds striker made an impact just six minutes after replacing Chris Baird in attacking change from Sanchez, sweeping home from inside the box, despite the presence of several Bolton defenders on the goalline.
That heralded a spell of late pressure from the home side, but the game entered extra time. It looked as though Fulham might have worn down Lee’s team in the extra half an hour as they peppered the Bolton goal with shots. Both Healy and Kamara smashed efforts against the woodwork and the Senegalese forward had a goal ruled out for offside as Bolton clung on.
And their defensive resolution was rewarded with eight minutes of extra time remaining. Stelios, on for Braaten, shook off Paul Konchesky all too easily before smashing his shot past Keller to send Bolton into the last sixteen.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Keller; Baird (Healy 72), Konchesky, Hughes, Bocanegra; Davis, Murphy, S. Davies, Bouazza (Kamara 63); Dempsey, Seol. Subs (not used): Warner, Stefanovic, Smertin.
BOOKED: Baird, Murphy.
GOAL: Healy (78).
BOLTON WANDERERS (4-4-2): Al-Habsi; Hunt, Cid, Meite, Michalik; McCann, Guthrie (Andranik 110), Alonso, Wilhelmsson; K. Davies, Braaten (Stelios 107). Subs (not used): Walker, Gardner, Nolan.
BOOKED: McCann, K. Davies, Cid.
REFEREE: Steve Bennett (Kent)