Cardiff City 1-2 Fulham
By James Lloyd at the Cardiff City Stadium
Cardiff City were sent crashing out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle after Fulham came from behind to win 2-1 at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Anthony Pilkington had put Cardiff ahead on eight minutes after his deflected free-kick left Marcus Bettinelli stranded.
But Fulham came marching back after Stefan Johansen slammed in the equaliser six minutes later. And the comeback was complete when 16-year old Ryan Sessegnon tapped in at the back post in the 33rd minute.
There were thousands of empty seats at the Cardiff City Stadium, as few turned out to watch a fairly feeble Cardiff effort, with some fans slamming the 11:30am kick-off time.
But it was Cardiff who made the dream start when Pilkington’s curling free-kick was deflected in off the hapless Lucas Piazon which wrong footed Bettinelli in the Fulham net.
The Fulham equaliser came just six minutes later after Ryan Fredericks – who was proving a nuisance on the right wing – found birthday boy Johansen who slammed the ball in.
Joe Ralls forced Bettinelli into a smart, reflex stop before Fulham took the lead. Fredericks waltzed past the lethargic Joe Bennett as he picked out skipper Tom Cairney whose effort bounced off the bar to Sessegnon who bundled in his third goal for the Cottagers.
The Bluebirds were shoddy at the back, and were fortunate that the visitors took their foot off the pedal in the final third after the interval. Fredericks continued his brutal bombardment on Bennett, whilst Sone Aluko and Cairney terrorised the elusive Cardiff back three.
Emyr Huws found a rare effort for the hosts but that was comfortably saved by Bettinelli. Neil Warnock introduced academy starlet Mark Harris to the game on 69 minutes for his Cardiff debut, but he could not inspire a City comeback.
Fulham looked the more likely as Murphy was on hand to stop two efforts from Piazon, and eight minutes from time the stopper was there again to halt Aluko’s fizzing shot.
Cardiff (3-4-3): Murphy 6; Morrison 5, Bamba 5, Halford 4 (O’Keefe, 69 5); Richards 5, Ralls 5, Huws 5, Bennett 4; Pilkington 6, Lambert 5 (M Harris, 69 5), Harris 5 (Noone, 79 5).
Fulham (3-5-2): Bettinelli 6; Sigurdsson 6, Ream 6, Odoi 6; Fredericks 7, McDonald 6, Johansen 7 (Adeniran, 81 5), Cairney 6, Sessegnon 7 (Malone, 90 5); Piazon 6, Aluko 6 (Humphrys, 84 5).
Star Man: Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham)