Fulham see off Villa in FA Cup

Fulham 2 Aston Villa 1

Stunning strikes from Anthony Knockaert and substitute Harry Arter sent Fulham into the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2017.

Knockaert’s 25-yarder early in the second half was cancelled out when Anwar El Ghazi stole in to tap home on the line after Jonathan Kodjia had lobbed goalwards.

But Arter, on his first appearance since mid-October, unleashed a left-foot rocket into the top corner 16 minutes from time to upset their Premier League opponents.

Scott Parker also found time in the closing stages to give a senior debut to 17-year-old forward Jay Stansfield, whose low cross was stabbed wide by Knockaert in injury time.

The two goals that lit up the second half were in marked contrast to a poor first period, when neither goalkeeper was tested until injury time, Marek Rodak making a smart stop with his legs to deny El Ghazi.

Villa earlier had half chances through Kodjia, El Ghazi and former Brentford winger Jota.

The Whites, though, had enjoyed the lion’s share of possession before the break, but often overplayed and were restricted to off-target efforts from distance.

But it was that keenness to get a shot away that paid dividends, Knockaert arrowing in a shot after Fulham swept forward on the counter.

Joe Bryan then forced a save as the Whites displayed renewed confidence, only for Villa to level when Kodjia snuck in ahead of debutant Michael Hector and lifted the ball over Rodak, with El Ghazi making sure.

Rodak then denied Jota before Arter, minutes after coming on, proved the hero a week after he turned 30.

Fulham: Rodak; Christie, Hector, Mawson, Odoi; Knockaert, McDonald (Arter 71), Johansen, Bryan; Onomah (Stansfield 81); Cavaleiro (De La Torre 84). Subs not used: Bettinelli, O’Riley, Harris, Jasper.