Late goals lift Cottagers
Fulham have comfortably progressed to the Europa League play-off round following a 6-0 aggregate success.
Last Updated: 06/08/09 10:13pm
Fulham have comfortably progressed to the Europa League play-off round following a 6-0 aggregate success over FK Vetra at Craven Cottage.
Roy Hodgson's side were in firm control of the tie before a ball had been kicked after a 3-0 first leg success and they matched that score on home soil with Andy Johnson's two late goals adding to Dickson Etuhu's opener.
Fulham took a while to stamp their authority on the match and it was only when Etuhu headed home the opening goal of the game just before the hour mark were the Lithuanian side's hopes dashed.
They battled on bravely, but the home side finished with a flourish with two typical close-range finishes from goal-poacher extraordinaire Johnson adding respectability to the scoreline.
Fulham were on the front foot right from kick-off. Zoltan Gera escaped the Vetra off-side trap after two minutes and drilled in a low angled shot which Bobby Zamora intercepted, only to turn and fire his own effort wide.
Fulham's concentrated their early attacks down the left side, where Johnson and Clint Dempsey linked well to release Konchesky on the overlap.
The former England full-back was repeatedly afforded space in which to work but the accuracy of his crossing was poor and Vetra were able to scramble the ball away.
The visitors, who spent most of the night with 10 men behind the ball, were tough in the tackle and they coped patiently, if unconvincingly, with the early pressure.
But Fulham failed to really test Povilas Valincius in the Vetra goal as Zamora glanced a header wide from Konchesky's corner.
Ironically, it was Vetra who forced the first decent save of the evening as Mark Schwarzer tipped a rasping long-range drive from Tomas Razanuaskas over the bar.
Fulham continued to press forward down the left and engineered their best chance of the half when Konchesky cut back onto his right foot and lifted a cross towards Johnson.
The striker flicked his header onto the woodwork and when Gera latched onto the rebound his shot was cleared off the line by defender Gediminas Paulauskas.
Fulham enjoyed further success down the left as Johnson cut inside and rifled a shot goalwards that forced Vetra keeper Valinicius into a panicked punch clear.
Fulham kept the pressure on and when the ball fell to Konchesky 30 yards out he unleashed a powerful drive that whistled just wide of the far post.
Still the chances came, and still they went. Gera, unmarked on the penalty spot, made a hash of his header and Dempsey lifted a shot over the bar after a neat cut-back from Johnson.
Fulham's profligacy was beginning to test the crowd's patience when they finally made the breakthrough after 56 minutes, when Etuhu met Konchesky's out-swinging corner and directed his header inside the far post.
Zamora was not enjoying his finest evening at the Cottage and he wasted a golden chance soon after by mis-placing a simple inside pass for the unmarked Johnson.
But Johnson soon succeeded in doubling Fulham's lead on the night by stealing in front of his defender towards the near post, where he met Dempsey's cross with a neat finish.
And five minutes later, substitute Eddie Johnson escaped his man and picked out Johnson for another close-range finish as Fulham sealed a 6-0 aggregate victory.