Marcus Bettinelli heroics helps Fulham earn replay

Saturday 24 Jan 2015
Sunderland's Steven Fletcher takes on Fulham's Nikolay Bodurov

Emerging hero Marcus Bettinelli starred for Fulham as their defensive wall held firm against ten-man Sunderland. 

The 22-year-old frustrated veteran striker Jermain Defoe on his home debut, and Jack Rodwell received a second yellow for a petty foul on the keeper as the second half wore on.

Sunderland 0-0 Fulham

The FA Cup
Fourth Round Proper
Stadium of Light
Saturday 24 January 2015
Winning sides receive £90,000

Gus Poyet threw Defoe into the action and the FA Cup specialist set about terrorising the visitors’ defence early on. 

Shaun Hutchinson had to be on his guard in the opening stages against the man with 22 FA Cup goals to his name, while Bettinelli had a few lofty crosses to deal with as Sunderland looked to find Steven Fletcher.

But Fulham held their own and the Stadium of Light became an increasingly frustrated arena as the first half wore on. 

Rodwell was booked for a lunge on Kostas Stafylidis as it began to dawn on the hosts that Kit Symons’ men were there for more than an enjoyable day out.

They stood strong, with Bettinelli repelling Sebastian Larsson with his feet before Hutchinson kept close tabs on Fletcher and ensure the half ended all square.

Fulham came into this one off the back of two wins in a week and nearly edged ahead after the break when Seko Fofana’s shot caused havoc in the Black Cats’ box and was deflected just wide.

With an hour on the clock, Defoe sprung to life and fired an early range-finder wide of the target from long range before drawing a smart save from the keeper with a menacing half-volley.

See how Championship side Fulham held Sunderland at the Stadium Of Light

Bettinelli again denied the man ten years his senior from close range just moments later, his prowess irritating the men in red and white shirts.

Rodwell was particularly annoyed by the subborn visiting defence, and that boiled over when he pettily blocked an attempted quick throw from the keeper. 

Referee Anthony Taylor had no choice other than to issue a second yellow and send the Premier League side down to 10 men with 25 minutes remaining.

The Bettinelli-Defoe battle raged on, with the former England striker again unable to find a way past the former Dartford and Accrington Stanley loanee. 

He stood tall to a late onslaught as the top tier side threw the kitchen sink at the Londoners, with sub Connor Wickham forcing him to tip over the crossbar.

Symons threw on Ross McCormack late on; he had scored a hat-trick in the win over Nottingham Forest in the week, but was unable to make an impression. 

Hugo Rodallega was a more impressive introduction. He so nearly snatched it for the Championship side but his strike came crashing back off the post. 

The sides will lock horns again in London on Tuesday 3 February (7.45pm).

Sunderland (3-5-2): 25 Vito Mannone; 27 Santiago Vergini, 16 John O’Shea, 22 Sebastian Coates; 2 Billy Jones, 7 Sebastian Larsson, 4 Liam Bridcutt, 8 Jack Rodwell, 3 Patrick van Aanholt; 9 Steven Fletcher, 28 Jermain Defoe.

Substitutes: 10 Connor Wickham for Steven Fletcher 66, 30 Will Buckley for Billy Jones 75.

Substitutes not used: 1 Costel Pantilimon, 14 Jordi Gomez, 19 Danny Graham, 20 Ricky Alvarez, 23 Emanuele Giaccherini. 

Fulham (4-4-1-1): 40 Marcus Bettinelli; 3 Kostas Stafylidis, 4 Shaun Hutchinson, 6 Nikolay Bodurov, 37 Jack Grimmer; 21 Lasse Vigen Christensen, 25 Moussa Dembele, 19 Ryan Tunnicliffe, 12 Seko Fofana; 10 Bryan Ruiz; 16 Cauley Woodrow.

Substitutes: 44 Ross McCormack for Dembele 60, 11 Alex Kacaniklic for Fofana 74, 20 Hugo Rodallega for Woodrow 76.

Substitutes not used: 1 Gabor Kiraly, 13 Elsad Zverotic, 14 Patrick Roberts, 33 Dan Burn. 

Referee: Anthony Taylor

By Andy Lloyd-Williams Reporter