Fulham 4 Charlton 0: Dempsey hat-trick bursts bubble of League One leaders
Clint Dempsey's hat-trick helped Fulham avoid a potential upset against Charlton in the FA Cup third round.
The United States international's goals helped the Cottagers triumph in a London derby in which the npower League One leaders' performance belied the scoreline.
Dempsey gave the Cottagers an eighth minute lead after connecting with a deflected through ball from former Charlton midfielder Danny Murphy to flick home.
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.
Boosted by up to 7,000 visiting fans,
Charlton attacked with intent and only fine goalkeeping from David
Stockdale prevented them netting an equaliser.
Yann Kermorgant, Danny Green and
Bradley Wright-Phillips were all denied by the England man, before
Dempsey netted in the 61st minute.
The 28-year-old secured progression
to the fourth round with nine minutes remaining, converting from the
penalty spot before substitute Damien Duff scored a late deflected
Fulham benefited from a strong
line-up at Craven Cottage as manager Martin Jol stuck by his word not to
name a weakened side, with Kerim Frei the only change to the side that
defeated Arsenal on Monday.
Counterpart Chris Powell kept largely
the same side that defeated Brentford earlier this week, with John
Sullivan and Matthew Taylor drafted in.
The Addicks started brightest by the
Thames and only a late block prevented Danny Hollands' header breaking
the deadlock inside four minutes.
Pounced: Dempsey showed quickness of thought to get Fulham off to the best possible start
Fulham were under a lot of pressure during the opening exchanges but soon benefited from their attack-minded philosophy.
Moussa Dembele forced Sullivan into a
superb one-handed save in the sixth minute and the Cottagers took the
lead two minutes later.
Murphy, who was receiving a lot of
stick from the travelling support, saw a through ball deflected into the
path of Dempsey, who flicked home.
The goal did not dampen Fulham's
enthusiasm as they continued to press forward, with Frei and John Arne
Riise looking particularly dangerous down the left flank.
Double trouble: Dempsey was Fulham's most potent attacking threat throughout
The latter saw a 20-yard effort blocked by Taylor, before Charlton pressed forward in search of an equaliser.
After some neat interplay Kermorgant
hit a neat curled chip that forced Stockdale to parry wide, although
Johnnie Jackson could only fire the rebound into the side-netting.
Charlton were looking increasingly
dangerous as the half progressed and a stinging Wright-Phillips drive
forced Stockdale to save with his feet.
Green was unfortunate to not see
anybody convert a superb cutback as the visitors continued to press,
before receiving the afternoon's first booking for clipping the heels of
the ever-dangerous Frei.
Spot on: The American completed his hat-trick with a penalty in the closing stages
Riise and Dempsey flashed shots wide as half-time approached, before Bobby Zamora saw a weak header saved by Sullivan.
The second period burst into life after a slow opening in the 54th minute when Sullivan tipped wide a 20-yard Murphy effort.
Dempsey headed over from the resulting corner, before Stockdale twice thwarted Charlton in quick succession at the other end.
Class above: All over the pitch, the League One leaders were outshone
The England man produced a superb
reaction save to deny Wright-Phillips from close range, before tipping
over Green's follow-up from outside the box.
Jol soon brought on Duff for Frei in a
bid to change things and only a low Sullivan save stopped the Republic
of Ireland international having an immediate impact.
The home side did not have to wait long for a second goal, though, as Dempsey netted his in the 61st minute.
Getting through to you: Charlton Athletic manager Chris Powell will no doubt learn from the game
The Texan midfielder played a one-two with Costa Rica international Bryan Ruiz, before directing the ball past Sullivan.
Charlton seemed to go into their
shell after Dempsey's goal, with Ruiz, Zamora and Philippe Senderos all
coming close in the 10 minutes that followed.
Wright-Phillips and Kermorgant saw
efforts blocked as Charlton briefly threatened a revival, before the
home side put the tie out of reach.
Ruiz was brought down in the box by
the onrushing Sullivan, allowing Dempsey to tuck away the resulting
penalty and claim the match ball.
The majority of the 20,317 fans
inside Craven Cottage had another goal to celebrate with three minutes
remaining as Duff saw an effort deflect in off Taylor.