Bobby De Cordova-Reid provides touch of class as Fulham pass Rotherham test

Fulham's Jamaican striker #14 Bobby Decordova-Reid shoots to score the opening goal of the English FA Cup third round football match between Fulham and Rotherham United at Craven Cottage in London on January 5, 2024
Bobby Decordova-Reid's well-taken strike was the difference betwene the two sides - Getty Images/Henry Nicholls

With Brentford and Wolverhampton drawing in the early kick-off and Crystal Palace and Everton failing to score on Thursday, Fulham became the first team to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup, albeit with a perfunctory victory over Rotherham United.

“Our obligation was to control the game,” said Marco Silva, the Fulham head coach. “We weren’t at out best but job done, a professional performance.”

On an evening distinctly short of FA Cup magic, a partially closed ground hosted a near-silent crowd as one team who, slenderness of their winning margin notwithstanding, never needed to break sweat, played host to eager but woefully limited visitors.

“I’ll take the positives,” contended Leam Richardson, the Rotherham head coach. “We nullified them in many areas.”

Bottom of the Championship and without an away victory since November 2022, Rotherham seemed to be ideal visitors for a team with an understandable eye on Wednesday’s Carabao Cupo semi-final. So it would prove, but Silva still took no chances: other than Afcon-bound Alex Iwobi, all the outfield players who began against Arsenal on Sunday were starters or substitutes.

Fulham won it when Aston Villa loanee Sebastian Revan dallied in his own area. Harry Wilson picked his pocket and the ball spun to Bobby De Cordova-Reid, who expertly curled his second goal in a week beyond Viktor Johansson from the edge of the area.

“That’s why Seb’s on loan,” sighed Richardson.

It should have been more but Fulham were both betrayed by their prodigal finishing and thwarted by Rotherham’s defensive doggedness. Andreas Pereira hit the post. Revan gained some redemption by throwing himself at Rodrigo Muniz’s goalbound follow-up; Sean Morrison brilliantly blocked another Muniz drive after Johansson spilled a cross and Johansson himself brilliantly tipped over Tosin Adarabioyo’s thunderous header.

The longer the game progressed without a Fulham second the more Rotherham might have fancied their chances, but an actual chance never came. The did have more possession as the end drew nigh and Oliver Rathbone injected some much-needed thrust, but the evening started and finished without their erstwhile loanee Marek Rodak needing to make a save.

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