Van der Sar heroics deny Tudgay a glorious double

Derby County 1 - Fulham 1
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The Independent Football

Premier League Fulham, who needed two attempts to see off Championship opposition in the third round, face another replay after being forced to come from a goal behind to escape with a draw at Pride Park.

Premier League Fulham, who needed two attempts to see off Championship opposition in the third round, face another replay after being forced to come from a goal behind to escape with a draw at Pride Park.

The west London side, held 1-1 by Watford three weeks ago, trailed to Derby substitute Marcus Tudgay's goal after 11 minutes of the second half, in a largely uninspired contest, before being rescued by their own substitute, the young Liberian-born Dutchman, Collins John.

His equaliser means the tie must be resumed at Craven Cottage on Saturday week. The outcome, however, came as no surprise to Chris Coleman, the Fulham manager. "It was never going to be easy because Derby are a good footballing side and I would have taken a draw beforehand," he said.

John, just 19 but already a full international, scored within a minute of his 70th-minute introduction, directing the ball home from close range after Mark Pembridge, a former Derby player, had punted a long pass into the home penalty area.

It was his third goal in his 18th appearance from the bench this season and his celebrations cost him a booking after he removed his shirt. A young man already known for forthright opinions, John had a message scrawled across his vest but it merely said "for my mum" and Coleman was in a forgiving mood. "We all know now that you get booked for taking your shirt off but he is only a young lad and he's just scored a goal," he said.

Derby have a patchy home record but this had looked like a tie with the potential to provide an upset, which the recent progress made by George Burley's side into the Championship play-off places only emphasised.

On a tricky surface it was not a game to remember but Derby were at least the equal of their opponents, despite injuries forcing them to field an 18-year-old, Tom Huddlestone, and a 20-year-old, Pablo Mills, at the heart of their defence.

A chance each to Derby's Grzegorz Rasiak and Fulham's Sylvain Legwinski more or less summed up a dull first half and there was little of the passion that used to be so characteristic of FA Cup ties, suggesting that both sides, subconsciously perhaps, saw it as a distraction from more important matters. But the intervention of the Derby substitute Tudgay after 56 minutes changed the nature of the game.

Pembridge had gone close for the visitors, but when Tudgay, who had replaced Marco Reich on the left flank at half-time, made an unchecked run into the penalty area to turn in a low cross from Tommy Smith, the Premiership side were forced finally to galvanise themselves.

John's even quicker impact ensured that Derby's lead lasted only a quarter of an hour but as the Championship side sought to regain their advantage, Edwin van der Sar's instincts denied Tudgay a second goal, the Dutchman saving with an outstretched leg, and Fulham survived to win another replay.

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