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Notts County Highlights

Heres the link for the highlights of our excellent win in the 5th round of the FA cup.

Some of our goals were very well taken and hopefully we can see more of it on Thursday night!

Fulham put four past County

Fulham moved into the FA Cup quarter finals for the second year in succession with a convincing win over League Two Notts County, even if the margin of victory might have flattered the Premier League side. The beleaguered visitors had a couple of decent chances at 0-0 and it was only after Simon Davies and Bobby Zamora had given Fulham  a comfortable lead that heads in the League Two side began to drop.

After the departure of Sven-Goran Eriksson and Tord Gripp and the transfer of power at Meadow Lane from the shadowy Munto finance group to a former chairman of Lincoln City for just ¬£1, some of the glamour has gone out of the league’s oldest club. Questions still remain about their future and Eriksson was uncharacteristically unspoken about the actions of his former employers on the radio this morning. County’s results have been superb throughout all of this and, with the amount of quality they have in their side, they could still earn promotion out of League Two.

Having been Wigan Athletic to set up this trip to Craven Cottage, the visitors certainly wouldn’t have been fazed by their surroundings. Fulham started the brighter, with Zamora dragging a shot wide, but there were a few nervy moments at the other end. Ben Davies brought a fine stretching save out of Mark Schwarzer and Craig Westcarr, who starred when Kettering pushed Fulham close in the Cup last year, wriggled away from Chris Baird before shooting wide.

Those narrow escapes seemed to galvanise Fulham who took the lead with their next attack. Danny Murphy found Simon Davies in space with a lovely lofted pass and the Welshman drilled a shot past the covering defender and former Manchester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel from a tight angle. Roy Hodgson had kept the same side that had started the 3-0 win over Burnley and, although Schwarzer had to save smartly from Westcarr, they were beginning to show some Premier League class.

David Elm and Zamora look as though they are starting to strike up a real understanding. The pair linked up cleverly for the crucial second goal just before half-time. The Swedish striker backheeled the ball perfectly into Zamora’s path and the in-form forward crashed home from just inside the box. Elm’s looked very useful in the last few games – and with injuries to other forwards and Stefano Okaka being ineligible – can probably look forward to a chance in the forthcoming Europa League tie against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Roared on by 4,000 fans, County kept going to their credit but found little of the penetration that they had mustered in the first half. Ben Davies had their best efforts but they were from long distance and Fulham carried plenty of threat in attack themselves. It was no surprise when Damien Duff put the contest beyond their reach with time ticking by.

Duff, again deployed on the right side of midfield, cut inside onto his favoured left foot and hit a shot past both the unfortunate Johnnie Jackson and Schmeichel, who might feel he could have done a little better at the near post. Okaka might an immediate impact as a late substitute, sprinting clear of the County defence to latch onto a glorious through ball from Simon Davies, and taking his time before scoring his first goal for the club since arriving on loan from Roma. It’s Bolton or Tottenham next at home.

FULHAM (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Baird, Shorey, Hughes, Hangeland; Etuhu, Murphy (Greening 70), Duff (Riise 75), S. Davies; Elm, Zamora (Okaka 75). Subs (not used): Zuberbuhler, Stoor, Smalling, Nevland.

GOALS: Davies (22), Zamora (41), Duff (73), Okaka (79).

NOTTS COUNTY (4-5-1): Schmeichel; Thomas, Jackson, Hunt, Edwards; Ravenhill, Bishop, Clapham (Rogers 60), Westcarr (Hawley 83), B. Davies; Hughes (Hamshaw 83). Subs (not used): Hoult, Lee, Fairclough, Akinbiyi.

REFEREE: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).

ATTENDANCE: 16,132

Up next: Notts County (h)

Sunday sees Notts County come to town. Fulham, who have something of a hit or miss record record in the FA Cup in recent seasons, will see this as a glorious opportunity to book a place in the last eight. Notts County, once seemingly set to make the kind of surge up the footballing pyramid that Mohamed Al Fayed’s funny had funded for little old Fulham after Micky Adams’ basement rescue act, now suddenly seem destined for administration. With Sven-Goran Eriksson and Tord Gripp gone on the eve of their big day out which will see 4,000 supporters of the league’s oldest club travel to London, who knows what will ensue on Sunday. Is it another one of Peter Trembling’s false dawns?

Mark Schwarzer eluded to the fact that, with their form on the upturn of late, Fulham would rather be playing for league points this weekend. They might have rediscovered the swagger that saw them swot Manchester United aside before Christmas, but there was an ease about the home side’s football as they swarmed all over Burnley in the second half on Tuesday night. With the return of Dickson Etuhu and Bobby Zamora, the spine of Roy Hodgson’s side suddenly looked stronger and the manager was moved to describe David Elm, whose summer purchase from Kalmar had been seen as something of a gamble, as a revelation.

Changes are almost certain to be made for the visit of Notts County with games against Shakhtar Donetsk and Birmingham City to follow quickly afterwards, but not as many as you might think. Hodgson has spoken this week about his desire to ‘attack the FA Cup,’ knowing that his team are only 180 minutes away from a rare appearance at Wembley. Stephen Kelly might get another chance to prove himself at right back and Chris Smalling could come into the heart of the defence, whilst Jonathan Greening and Bjorn-Helge Riise might feature in midfield. There’s something intriguing about pairing the raw Stefano Okaka with Elm, with confidence now surely coarsing through his veins, up front.

Notts County certainly shouldn’t be taken for granted, although they have fallen away from their early pacesetting form at the top of the League Two table. They plenty of players with Premier League pedigree. Eyebrows were raised that Kasper Schmeichel, so impressive when he made a top-flight impact for Manchester City a few years ago (he kept goal well in a thriller at Craven Cottage just a couple of seasons back), decided to drop down the divisions in the summer, persuaded by Eriksson’s charm perhaps. Jamie Clapham has plenty of top flight and European experience from his days at Ipswich and is a tireless worker in midfield, whilst the likes of Lee Hughes, whose return to professional football from prison sparked plenty of debate and Ade Akinbiyi, sure to get a hot reception from those who remember his Gillingham antics, could be a handful up front. Fulham will certainly remember Craig Westcarr, who twice brought non-league Kettering level as they threatened to embarass us at the fourth round stage last year.

MY FULHAM XI (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Kelly, Shorey, Smalling, Hangeland; Greening, Murphy, Riise, Davies; Elm, Okaka. Subs: Zuberbuhler, Baird, Hughes, Etuhu, Duff, Nevland, Zamora.

Clapham won’t be fazed by Fulham

Jamie Clapham says Notts County are in confident mood ahead of their FA Cup clash with Fulham this weekend.

Roy Hodgson is a great manager and Fulham are a different proposition. They are going well in the Premier League, they have good players. They have got threats throughout their team.

A bonus for us is that AJ (Andrew Johnson) is going to be out, he’s just had a knee op. But I’m sure he will be replaced by a quality striker. It will be totally different to Wigan and I think Fulham will play a different shape.

We’ll have to see how we go. We obviously want to get promoted and push up the league but it’s another chance for everyone to impress against a good team.

I hope there is a big crowd there because it will make it a proper cup tie. I don’t know what kind of crowds the rest of the lads have played in front of before but when you play in full stadiums it’s great to be out there. I’ve played in the San Siro and at Wembley in play-off finals, in front of almost 80,000, and it’s an incredible feeling.

It’s a great achievement for us to get to the fifth round of the Cup. It’s the furthest I’ve ever got in my career so these runs don’t happen very often. We have got to make the most of it, and savour every minute of playing against top teams and in front of big crowds.

Danny’s determined to take the Cup seriously

In his regular column for Eurosport, Fulham captain Danny Murphy says there’s little danger of the boys easing up for the FA Cup tie with Notts County on Sunday.

As a club, we are extremely excited about this weekend’s FA Cup tie against Notts County. We see the competition as a real opportunity for us, especially with three of the big four teams out. Understandably, it is a huge game for Notts County who have already put Wigan out, so they certainly have that ability to win the big games, with quality in their side. It will be a cracking fixture and one I can’t wait for.

I don’t think it is difficult to psyche yourself up for a game even when you are favourites. We can’t be sloppy or complacent in what is likely to be a very fast and frenetic game.

I still value the FA Cup as a fantastic competition and, as a squad, Fulham take great pride in doing well in any competition that we are involved in.