Fulham 4 Charlton 0: Dempsey hat-trick bursts bubble of League One leaders
By Mick Collins
Clint Dempsey produced a hat-trick
that allowed Fulham to progress to the fourth round but the margin and
result were harsh on their League One opponents.
Martin Jol made clear how serious he was treating both Charlton and the competition by making just one change from the side who beat Arsenal a week ago.
Jumping for joy: Fulham's Clint Dempsey put Charlton to the sword with a hat-trick
Fulham: Stockdale, Kelly, Senderos, Hangeland, John Arne Riise, Murphy (Sidwell 81), Frei (Duff 59), Dempsey, Dembele (Kasami 85), Ruiz, Zamora. Subs not used: Etheridge, Orlando Sa, Gecov, Hughes.
Goals: Dempsey: 8, 61, 81; Duff 87
Charlton: Sullivan, Solly, Taylor, Morrison, Wiggins (Evina 72), Green (Wagstaff 72), Pritchard, Hollands (Hughes 85), Jackson, Wright-Phillips, Kermorgant. Subs not used: Pope, Hughes, Evina, Hayes, Wagstaff, Euell, Cort.
Referee: Phil Dowd.
'I've not been here for the last four or five years,' he smiled, when reminded that other sides have been putting out weakened sides.
'I thought the FA Cup was still the greatest competition in the world, isn't it?'
He was rewarded with the perfect
start, as Dempsey latched on to Danny Murphy's through ball to open the
scoring after just eight minutes.
To their credit, Charlton refused to abandon the freeflowing style that has taken them to the top of League One.
Only the alertness of goalkeeper
David Stockdale, at the height of an impressive start to the second half
by the visitors, denied Bradley Wright-Phillips and then Danny Green.
However, Dempsey's second goal, just after the hour mark, after cutting in from the left to finish neatly, ended any threat of an upset and, when Charlton keeper John Sullivan upended Bryan Ruiz with nine minutes left, his hat-trick duly arrived.
Pounced: Dempsey showed quickness of thought to get Fulham off to the best possible start
Double trouble: Dempsey was Fulham's most potent attacking threat throughout
Ruiz cut in from the left flank and made his way across the area looking either for space to shoot or a trip to appear.
The desperate dive of Sullivan duly sent him tumbling and Dempsey claimed ownership of the match ball by slamming it home from the penalty spot.
Fulham's fourth, a very late, deflected strike from Damien Duff, simply added insult to injury.
Spot on: The American completed his hat-trick with a penalty in the closing stages
Class above: All over the pitch, the League One leaders were outshone
'I think four was a bit harsh,' reflected Charlton manager Chris Powell – and he was right.
'But that's what it's all about. Fulham get to concentrate on the fourth round, we get to concentrate on Sheffield Wednesday next week.
Getting through to you: Charlton Athletic manager Chris Powell will no doubt learn from the game
'But we can learn from today, look at Fulham, look at what they do and look to make ourselves better.
'That's what's important.'