Fulham survived a late onslaught to beat Doncaster Rovers 2-1 in the Capital One Cup third round last night thanks to goals from Bryan Ruiz and Dan Burn.
It proved a nice escape from the Cottagers’ difficult start to the Championship as they gained their first win under caretaker manager Kit Symons, who said that he was relieved to pick up his first victory in what was a ‘good stepping stone’ to building up his side’s confidence.
Among uncertainty over his future, Symons confirmed he had held talks with owner Shahid Khan earlier this week.
He said: “We had a really good chat, it was positive and upbeat.
“There will be a proper and thorough process, which is the right thing to do.”
After missing two early chances, Fulham capitalised on their impressive start and took the lead in the 16th minute through Costa Rican international Bryan Ruiz as he fired into the net from 15 yards.
Fulham continued to dominate and doubled their lead in the 32nd minute, captain for the night Burn heading his first goal for the club from a corner.
But League One Doncaster came back into it in the second half and, on the hour mark, James Coppinger found space inside the area before bending an effort with the outside of his right foot into the goal, giving Rovers a lifeline.
It looked like the turnaround was going to be complete in the 78th minute when referee Kevin Friend awarded Doncaster a penalty as Theo Robinson headed on to the arm of Tim Hoogland.
Robinson took the penalty, only to see it saved by Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.
The home side defended valiantly for the last 15 minutes to progress to the last 16, with Symons quick to praise his players.
He said: “They have been excellent, I’ve got to say, really positive, as is everyone at the football club, so it’s a happy place to be at the moment and long may that last.”
Fulham get back to business in the Championship on Saturday, travelling to Birmingham City on Saturday.
Picture courtesy of Treevis, with thanks