Poppies flower before late Fulham flurry

Kettering Town 2 Fulham 4: Last-gasp goals from Johnson and Zamora flatter illustrious visitors as Kettering cut a dash on the big stage

Not enough of a draw for live television coverage? ITV and Setanta should hang their heads in shame. This match was the essence of the FA Cup. Until Fulham scored twice in the last three minutes the odds were on Kettering, who had twice equalised through Craig Westcarr, becoming the first non-League club to knock Premier League opposition out of the competition. In the end the Blue Square Premier club could not bridge the 92-place differential, but Fulham will not face a more difficult tie if they ride their luck all the way to Wembley.

"I'm sure the television people will be wishing they had screened it now," said Mark Cooper, Kettering's manager. "It was a fantastic cup tie, what the FA Cup is all about. It is not Man United-Tottenham, Cardiff-Arsenal, it is about non-League teams playing on their own patch against Premier League teams."

It was the classic setting. The cameras which did turn up were on a temporary gantry in front of the Sid Chapman Terrace, Radio 5 Live were on plastic garden chairs at the back of the main stand and the national press, laptops on their laps, were dotted among the home support. All it needed was a cluster of fans hanging in the trees rising behind the away end. Fulham had not been to Rockingham Road since losing here in the Southern League in 1903.

Kettering's status has not changed much but they had knocked out 13 League teams in FA Cup ties, most recently Port Vale and Lincoln City this season. This was not so surprising. Conference clubs are no longer a collection of butchers, accountants and firemen, they are mostly all full-time with a smattering of former League pros. Kettering's included Nicky Eaden, who played in the Premier League for Barnsley, Lee Harper, who kept goal once for Arsenal, but more than a hundred times for QPR, and Westcarr, who represented England Under-21s when at Nottingham Forest. On the bench was a man who knew miracles could happen in the Cup, Alfie Potter, who put Havant & Waterlooville ahead at Anfield a year ago.

Alongside him was Terry Cooper, a serial winner of medals with Don Revie's Leeds United, who had flown in from Tenerife to advise his son, Mark. Cooper also knew shocks happen – he was part of the Leeds side famously defeated at Colchester in 1971.

Fulham had only rested John Pantsil, Bobby Zamora and Danny Murphy and, after a tentative first few minutes, they began to dominate. This soon brought reward as Simon Davies swivelled to volley in Clint Dempsey's 12th-minute right-wing cross.

It was a quality goal and Fulham briefly threatened to kill the tie with Leon Andreasen going close and Harper denying Dempsey. Then Kettering lifted their game. Ten minutes before the break Westcarr, having been tripped as he dribbled towards the box, drove the free-kick in.

Kettering maintained their momentum. Gareth Seddon and John Dempster should have scored before the cavalry, in the shape of Murphy and Zamora, arrived. Zamora headed a sitter wide from Murphy's cross but Exodus Geohaghan inadvertently deflected Murphy's 77th-minute shot into his own net.

Game over? Not yet. With seven minutes left Brede Hangeland cut down Westcarr who converted the penalty himself. A replay loomed but Harper chased Davies's deep cross and Zamora headed back for Andrew Johnson to score. Zamora added a flattering fourth but it was the Poppies who deserved the standing ovation at the end.

"I'm proud but sick," said Cooper. "We deserved to win. The players are gutted but I said to them, 'be proud of yourselves'."

Attendance: 5,406

Referee: Mike Riley

Man of the match: Westcarr

Match rating: 9/10

News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence