While they may never dislodge the memory of their cramped dressing room at the Crown Ground, this FA Cup tie will soon be forgotten by Fulham as they confront more glamourous tasks. In contrast, most of Accrington's players will look back on this fourth-round meeting as the highlight of their careers.
And when they do recall the game, they will always wonder: what if? What if Darran Kempson had not earned his second yellow card with a reckless challenge on Zoltan Gera? Andrew Procter, the Accrington captain, for one, had no doubts that a full-strength team would have been capable of a huge upset. "If we had kept 11 players on the pitch, I'm convinced we could have won because of the way it was going," he said. "Their players realised how well we had done because they all congratulated us at the end. They knew we'd given them a tough game."
Perhaps Fulham's quality would have shone through in the end, but Accrington's passing game created three excellent opportunities before Michael Symes cancelled out Erik Nevland's opener. On level terms, Stanley were in the driving seat before Kempson's unwise foul. Fulham capitalised to score twice in the final half-hour through Damien Duff and Gera before departing to shower at their hotel, rather than risk the Crown Ground facilities. Accrington have their memories, though, and Phil Edwards has Nevland's shirt as a souvenir. Nevland might have expected to be given the defender's in return, but that would have been a gift too far for hard-up Accrington.
Accrington Stanley (4-4-2): Bouzanis; Lees, Kempson, Edwards, Winnard; McConville (Kee 63), Ryan, Procter, Miles (Joyce 85); Symes, Grant. Substitutes not used: Dunbavin (gk), Turner, Mullin, Murphy, Gary King.
Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Kelly, Hangeland, Hughes, Kallio (Elm 56); Gera (Davies 84), Murphy, Baird, Duff (Dikgacoi 68); Nevland, Riise. Substitutes not used: Zuberbuhler (gk), Kamara, Smalling, Greening.
Referee: S Attwell (Warwickshire).
Accrington: Sent Off: Kempson (42). Booked: Kempson. Fulham: Booked: Baird, Gera.
Man of the match: Ryan.
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