Fulham 4-0 Charlton

Clint Dempsey
Clint Dempsey has now scored 12 goals this season

Clint Dempsey's hat-trick helped Fulham ease past Charlton and into the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Dempsey gave the hosts an early lead with a flicked finish but Charlton went close to equalising through Yann Kermorgant and Bradley Wright-Phillips.

David Stockdale kept Wright-Phillips and Danny Green at bay before Dempsey made it 2-0 with a dinked shot and his hat-trick came from the penalty spot.

Damien Duff compounded Charlton's misery with a late-deflected shot.

Despite this being Fulham's 36th match of the season, boss Martin Jol named near-enough his strongest-available side for their clash against the League One leaders.

And Jol's side made a blistering start with midfielder Moussa Dembele forcing a decent save off goalkeeper John Sullivan.

But Sullivan was powerless to prevent Fulham taking the lead moments later with Dempsey expertly flicking the ball into the net after Danny Murphy's shot had been deflected into the American's path.

To their credit Charlton reacted well to the early blow with Fulham thankful to Stockdale for keeping them in front.

First Stockdale produced a fine save to keep out Kermorgant's deflected shot and a few minutes later he used his legs to deny Wright-Phillips.

Charlton continued to press as the half wore on but to no avail with Fulham defender John Arne Riise going close at the other end with a fierce drive that went close.

Fulham's Bobby Zamora had the last chance of the half as he managed to beat Rhoys Wiggins to a header at the far post but it was easy enough for Sullivan to collect.

After the restart a fine passing move by Fulham eventually ended with Murphy's deflected side-footed shot forcing a decent fingertip save by Sullivan.

At the other end Stockdale was forced into a double save, first using his legs to stop Wright-Phillips' effort then tipping over Green's shot for a corner.

From there, Fulham took control of the game and substitute Duff played a one-two with Zamora but saw his strike kept out by Sullivan.

Fulham made it 2-0 with Dempsey grabbing his second of the game with a dinked right-foot finish after fine link-up play with Bryan Ruiz.

Senderos then went close with a header as Fulham pushed for a third and it eventually came - albeit from the penalty spot.

Ruiz was brought down by Sullivan as he raced through on goal and Dempsey grabbed his hat-trick from 12 yards for his 12th goal of the season.

And late on Duff completed the rout as he made it 4-0 with a right-footed deflected shot beating Sullivan.

Fulham manager Martin Jol: "I wasn't here for the last four or five years but I still think the FA Cup is the best competition in the world.

"In hindsight, 4-0 is a very good result, especially if you see the other results. We knew before the game they have got a very good side with a good mentality.

"It was very positive that Clint Dempsey scored three goals and Bryan Ruiz created all the goals."

Charlton boss Chris Powell told BBC London 94.9: "It was harsh on my players and my club, 4-0 didn't really reflect what happened today.

"We are playing a side two steps up, a team that has plenty of international players. We hung in there, we had plenty of belief, but it was harsh to come out of the game 4-0.

"There is plenty we can learn from it but really it's about League One, it's about playing teams at our level, and about us striving for three points in every game remaining in the season now."

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