Neither Fulham nor Leicester City have a particularly prominent place in the history of the FA Cup but the two sides may have earned themselves at least a footnote in the annals of the old competition thanks to this breathtaking third-round replay. Wayne Routledge's winner in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time was only the full stop on a game that went a long way to adding to the Cup's traditions.
That prevented a sense of déjà vu as the Londoners were heading for their seventh consecutive draw after 90 minutes. After 47 minutes that would have come as a blessed relief for their manager, Chris Coleman. As it is, the Cottagers host Stoke City, also of the Championship, in the next round and now have a good chance of reaching the last 16.
Having trailed 3-1 just after half-time, two goals from loan signing Vincenzo Montella then levelled matters against the side that is 18th in the Championship, but who had bridged the gap comfortably between the divisions for most of the night.
Routledge's winner was the only time Rob Kelly's men trailed and they were left with only 50 seconds to grab an equaliser and force extra time, which understandably was beyond them.
His was also the best goal of the seven, as the winger, on loan from Tottenham, left three Leicester players rooted to the spot before homing in on Paul Henderson and slipping his shot under the distraught goalkeeper.
Prior to that, Montella had been the one Fulham individual to try and combat Leicester's outstanding team effort. The former Italian international, 32, has been hired from Roma for the rest of the season and did more than could have been expected of him on his home debut.
With the hosts having just fallen 3-1 behind to James Wesolowski's fine strike after 47 minutes, Montella hauled his new team-mates back into contention three minutes later, with a tap-in from six yards. His second was from the same distance, but this time came off his head.
Rob Kelly's visitors had been unchanged for this game, after a 1-1 draw at Colchester at the weekend, and it appeared to be the best tactic. In front of their likely new owner, Milan Mandaric, who hopes to complete a £25m takeover before this weekend, they went ahead after 13 minutes, when Matt Fryatt slipped his shot under Tony Warner.
The goal was simplicity itself. Catching Fulham short-staffed in defence, Stephen Hughes chipped the perfect ball over Carlos Bocanegra for Fryatt, who just needed one touch before beating Warner.
Fulham were off the pace but with their first shot on goal were level, as Tomasz Radzinski found Brian McBride, who controlled the ball and shot low inside Paul Henderson's post from seven yards.
It was the American who gave way for Montella but by the time he was on the pitch, they had fallen behind once more, thanks to Frank Queudrue, who appeared to get the final touch after Levi Porter swung a free-kick into the home side's box. Yet even then, the fun had barely begun.
Fulham (4-4-2): Warner; Rosenior, Christanval, Bocanegra, Queudrue; Routledge, Brown, Volz, Radzinski; McBride (Montella, h-t), Helguson. Substitutes not used: Lastuvka (gk), Runstrom, Zakuani, Omozusi.
Leicester City (4-4-2): Henderson; McAuley (Stearman, 81), McCarthy, Kisnorbo, Maybury; Hughes (Cadamarteri, 82), Williams, Tiatto (Wesolowski, 39), Porter; Fryatt, Hume. Substitutes not used: Logan (gk), Johansson.
Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire ).Reuse content