Martin Jol expresses relief after Fulham snatch FA Cup victory from Blackpool

Fulham scored late in both normal and extra time

Brede Hangeland was credited with the late winner as Fulham snatched a place in the FA Cup fourth round at the expense of spirited Championship side Blackpool.

The Norwegian completed the Premier League club's 2-1 win with four minutes of extra time remaining at freezing Bloomfield Road after Kieran Richardson had spared them humiliation in the replay late in normal time.

Richardson came off the bench to strike deep into the third and final minute of injury time after Nathan Delfouneso had put managerless Blackpool in sight of a trip to Manchester United or West Ham after 83 minutes.

There was much debate over who had the decisive final touch after Hangeland jumped between two defenders to send a late header goalwards but that did not concern manager Martin Jol.

Jol said: "Someone told me it was an own goal - I don't know, I would have to see it again. I asked Brede and he didn't know either."

The Dutchman admitted relief after his side had been seconds away from defeat.

Jol said: "I had him (Richardson) on the bench so if something went wrong I could bring him on, and he did that.

"It is always a relief.

"To see us come back 30 seconds from the end, and to score the winner was... they couldn't score the winner, so you knew the one who scored first would win the game and luckily it was Fulham."

A largely eventless encounter came to life in the final 15 minutes of normal time.

Aston Villa loanee Delfouneso tapped home after Mark Schwarzer failed to punch a cross clear and Tiago Gomes almost added a second when he rifled into the side-netting.

Richardson gave Fulham a lifeline but Tom Ince, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Kirk Broadfoot all had good chances for the hosts in extra time.

There was some controversy over the winner as there was uncertainty over whether Giorgos Karagounis' shot had been deflected for the corner which led to it.

Referee Andre Marriner had twice previously awarded goal kicks when he should have given corners.

Seasiders caretaker boss Steve Thompson said: "The lads were saying it was not a corner.

"But you've got to defend your set plays. They put quality in there and if you don't defend them you are going to be punished."

Thompson thought his side had the game won as he awaited the final whistle.

He said: "It was not a nice way to lose, and when it (the equaliser) is the last kick of the game it is hard to get them going again.

"But it was a great strike. Two of our centre-halves went for the same ball and the ref says as soon as they head it he'd blow the whistle. That was the disappointing thing about it."

Thompson may not have done his prospects of landing the job full time any harm but it seems chairman Karl Oyston is moving in a different direction.

Latest reports have linked the Seasiders with Milton Keynes Dons boss Karl Robinson.

Thompson said: "I am ready to be a number one but it is Karl's decision. Whatever he does I will support it."

PA

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