Goals from Layvin Kurzawa and Dan James helped Fulham progress to the FA Cup fourth round with a victory over Hull.
Left-back Kurzawa tapped into an empty net in the 37th minute and James raced clear to add a second into an unguarded goal with the last kick of the game.
Fulham boss Marco Silva made seven changes to his XI and left Aleksandar Mitrovic out of the squad entirely.
The decision proved justified, though, as the Premier League side secured their place in Sunday’s draw.
Relive Hull v Fulham and follow all of Saturday’s action in the FA Cup third-round action
Hull started the match brightly and should have taken the lead in the fourth minute at the MKM Stadium.
Bobby de Cordova-Reid failed to deal with a hopeful punt forward and Harvey Vale was able to sneak in, only to poke the ball wide with just Fulham goalkeeper Marek Rodak to beat.
Lewis Coyle saw his shot turned around the post by Rodak soon after before Fulham slowly began to work their way into the game.
Andreas Pereira went close twice in the space of four minutes, first with an effort from the edge of the box that was tipped over the bar by Hull goalkeeper Matt Ingram and then firing over on the bounce after Tom Cairney’s cross from the left had picked out his late run into the area.
The goal arrived two minutes after the latter when Ingram could only push Harry Wilson’s curling shot to the corner of the six-yard box, where Kurzawa was arriving to cushion the ball home.
Vinicius Junior had the chance to double Fulham’s lead just past the hour mark but dragged his shot well wide and from that point on, it was the home side on the front foot.
Substitutes Aaron Connolly, in his first appearance since joining on-loan from Brighton, and Benjamin Tetteh provided renewed energy and another sub, Oscar Estupinan, had Hull’s best attempt of the second half, a stoppage-time header tipped over by Rodak, but Fulham held firm.
With Ingram sent up for a long throw-in deep into injury time, Fulham was able to break and James’ pace saw him streak clear to roll the ball home to seal the win.
The number of changes made by both managers was a clear indication that the FA Cup might not be their top priority this season.
While Silva retained only four of the starting XI from the win at Leicester, Liam Rosenior made nine changes to the Hull side that beat Wigan so convincingly.
The Championship side pushed hard for an equaliser late on and while any defeat brings some disappointment, this one is likely to be easier to brush off than most for Rosenior and Hull.
But while their focus turns back to league action and trying to stay clear of a relegation scrap, Fulham’s Premier League form is such that this could be the perfect season to give the cup a go.
As it stands, the relegation battle is none of their business and while they will be well aware that the job is not done on that front, it also wouldn’t be too presumptuous if they were planning for life in the top flight next season.
It might be very early to be dreaming of a first FA Cup final appearance since 1975, and just a second in the competition’s history, but a favourable fourth-round draw and maybe the cup can play a part in what is already a feel-good season for Fulham.
source – BBC