Fulham v Posh 3rd Rd 8 Jan 2011

Venue: Craven Cottage, Fulham

Attendance: 15,936 (4,609 Posh)

Score: Peterborough Utd 2 v Fulham 6

Referee: Lee Mason.

Diomansy Kamara scored his first hat-trick in English football as Fulham proved they were serious about another crack at the FA Cup this season after sweeping past the Posh and into the fourth round.

Quarter-finalists for the last two years, the Cottagers resisted the urge to rest players despite their Barclays Premier League relegation battle and duly demonstrated the true gulf in class between the top flight and League One.

Dickson Etuhu and substitutes Zoltan Gera and Jonathan Greening also found the net, while Lee Tomlin and a Grant McCann penalty salvaged some pride for the visitors, who survived an even  heavier beating.

Mark Hughes resisted the urge to rest players for Fulham’s FA Cup clash with Peterborough naming an unchanged XI for the third-round tie, with new signing Steve Sidwell not included in the squad.

Posh manager Gary Johnson also declined to meddle with his line-up, but Jonathan Obika and Kieran Agard were both on the bench after joining on loan the week of the tie from Tottenham and Everton, respectively.

Posh, who were missing playmaker George Boyd through injury and almost fell behind twice in the opening five minutes today as the npower League One visitors flew out of the traps.

David Stockdale was forced into a smart stop from Arron Davies as Fulham dithered at a corner, and the goalkeeper also tipped over Craig Mackail-Smith’s rising drive after a sweeping move.

Fulham soon woke up and Simon Davies should have put them ahead against the club where he started his career when he slashed horribly at Damien Duff’s low  cross.

The midfielder almost made amends moments later with a sweet 20-yard volley which whistled past the post.

Diomansy Kamara went close from similar range and also flicked a difficult header wide.

Both sides’ top scorers – Mackail-Smith and Clint Dempsey – then went close before Davies curled narrowly over after some good sleight of foot.

Lee Tomlin blasted narrowly over from 20 yards after a lightning break from the increasingly under pressure visitors.

They finally buckled in the 32nd minute when Chris Baird’s far-post cross was nodded home with ease from point-blank range by Kamara.

Unbowed, the lively Mackail Smith sent a dangerous ball across the Fulham box before Tomlin drew a foul from Brede Hangeland that saw the latter booked.

Duff saw a low drive deflected wide before missing a great chance to make it 2-0 after racing clear and clipping just past the post.

But the winger was the creator of the second on the stroke of half-time, his cross cleared to Dickson Etuhu, who blasted home via a deflection.

Both sides made a change during the break, Fulham withdrawing Davies for Zoltan Gera and Peterborough Chris Whelpdale for Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.

Posh repeated their flying start to the first half, with Mackail-Smith sending an angled drive wide and John Pantsil forced to clear acrobatically after Stockdale made a hash of a corner.

Again, Fulham got going and Gera stung the palms of England Under-21 goalkeeper Joe Lewis, Duff saw his close-range finish hit the post and screw across goal, and Kamara’s attempted backheel was smothered.

Posh responded to the onslaught by handing a debut to Obika in place of Davies in the 55th minute but they were dead and buried four minutes later.

Danny Murphy’s slide-rule pass broke a non-existent offside trap and Kamara raced clear before slotting the ball into the far corner.

That was the cue for Jonathan Greening to replace Dempsey, but there was no respite for the visitors.

Murphy almost put Duff clean through before the latter produced an inch-perfect cross for Gera to head across Lewis and into the net for Fulham’s fourth.

Agard came on for Adam Clayton in Posh’s final change 20 minutes from time.

Two minutes later, Tomlin netted a consolation with arguably the goal of the game, the winger racing in from the right-hand side and arrowing a low finish into the far corner.

But there was more misery to come for Posh and more joy for Kamara when the striker sidefooted home Greening’s cutback from the left to complete his hat-trick.

Hangeland was withdrawn for Rafik Halliche, who conceded a penalty for tripping Mackail-Smith moments after Stockdale had saved from Obika.

Posh captain Grant McCann sent Stockdale the wrong way in the 86th minute but Greening made it 6-2 when he side footed home a minute from time and

Gera also volleyed wide in stoppage time.

Teams:

The Posh: Joe Lewis, Mark Little, Kelvin Langmead, Gaby Zakuani, Grant McCann, Craig Mackail-Smith, Tommy Rowe, Chris Whelpdale (sub Nathaniel Mendez-Laing), Arron Davies (sub Jonathan Obika), Lee Tomblin and Adam Clayton (sub Kieran Agard).

Unused subs: James Wesolowski, Ryan Bennett, Steve Collis, Nana Ofori-Twumasi.

Fulham: David Stockdale, John Paintsil, Brede Hangeland (sub Rafik Halliche), Chris Baird, Danny Murphy, Diomansy Kamara, Damien Duff, Aaron Hughes, Dickson Etuhu, Clint Dempsey (sub Jonathan Greening) and Simon Davies (sub Gera Zoltan).

Unused subs: Carlos Salcido, Bjorn Helga Riise, Eddie Johnson, Neil Etheridge.

Goal scorers: The Posh – Lee Tomblin and Grant McCann (pen) 86 mins. Fulham – Diomansy Kamara (3) 32 mins, 59 mins & 76 mins, Dickson Etuhu 45 mins, Gera Zoltan 66 mins and Jonatan Greening 89 mins.

Bookings: Gaby Zakuani (Posh), Brede Hangeland (Fulham).