Fulham 2 Swansea 1
Bobby Zamora scored for the second time in three days as Fulham left it late to book an FA Cup sixth-round meeting with Manchester United at the expense of Swansea.
The Coca-Cola Championship side took a second-half lead through Jason Scotland in the fifth-round replay at Craven Cottage but two goals inside three minutes, through Zamora and Clint Dempsey, ensured the Premier League side progressed.
It capped a fine week for Zamora, who had endured a long barren spell before netting against West Brom on Sunday.
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson had been vocal before the match in his criticism of the gruelling schedule handed to his players but nine of the men who beat Albion were again in the starting XI.
Significantly, though, it was top-scorer Andy Johnson and captain Danny Murphy who were rested.
The Welsh side pressed hard early on and when Brede Hangeland’s full-blooded tackle on Scotland could not halt a brisk breakaway, Dickson Etuhu earned a third-minute caution for a messy follow-up on Jordi Gomez.
The free-kick was invitingly placed but Mark Gower blazed over.
After 12 minutes Scotland shot forcefully from range and when goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer parried it at full stretch, Hangeland did well to smother Guillem Bauza’s attempt to poke home the rebound.
Gomez was causing problems too, earning a second promising free-kick inside 15 minutes.
He took this one himself and forced Schwarzer into a low save at his near post.
The impressive Hangeland, meanwhile, was busy showcasing a more refined side to his game, skipping past Nathan Dyer on the left touchline before releasing Dempsey.
With 28 minutes gone the Championship side had a third free-kick from just outside the area, Bauza trying his best to stay on his feet before tumbling to the floor following Olivier Dacourt’s trip.
And this time the delivery was much better.
Gomez drilled his shot firmly along the ground with Schwarzer pulling off a fine save with his legs after a slight deflection.
At the other end Leon Britton was inches away from conceding a penalty, but his handball was deemed to be inches outside the area.
City were then caught out committing too many forward at a corner, with Simon Davies sprinting fully 60 yards out of defence to feed Bobby Zamora, who shot tamely.
Dorus De Vries did well to parry a Erik Nevland volley wide eight minutes before the interval but he appeared beaten when Hangeland’s towering header crashed against the woodwork three minutes later.
It was the second time in three days the defender had been denied by the frame of the goal following a similar effort against West Brom.
Just 90 seconds after the restart Swansea ended the stalemate.
Scotland, who had already breached the Cottagers’ backline in the first match, was again the scorer.
He was afforded far too much room by Aaron Hughes and John Pantsil, who between them allowed Gower to roll the ball to Scotland 15 yards out.
The striker did not appear to catch his shot as cleanly as intended but it was well placed and nestled beyond Schwarzer in front of Swansea’s delighted supporters.
Nevland, trying but failing in his audition to break up the Zamora-Johnson partnership, had another chance after 56 minutes but hooked a hopeful volley high into the stands.
With an hour played Dacourt limped off to be replaced by Murphy, with Nevland also heading off in favour of Zoltan Gera.
Murphy started to make an impression, freeing Zamora with a wonderful pass with the outside of the boot but spraying wide with a fine chance of his own.
With 20 minutes left panic started to take hold of the visitors and Zamora was presented with two good chances to level within seconds.
Both were blocked after ricochets in the penalty box, while Davies was somehow denied from three yards when he reacted quickest to the second.
It was the Welsh midfielder who looked most likely to put his side back in the hunt, stinging De Vries’ palms with a fiery shot and testing him with high crosses.
Etuhu went close with a fizzing volley as the chances stacked up and it was no surprise when Dempsey steered home Davies’ corner from the right to level the scores in the 77th minute.
The American nearly made it two after superb work from Zamora put him one on one with De Vries just moments afterwards.
The Dutchman made a fine sprawling save but had no chance a minute later when another Davies cross found Zamora and he nodded back across goal to make it 2-1.