Wayne Rooney overcame the indignity of being hauled off penalty-taking duties to keep Manchester United on course for their first FA Cup triumph since 2004.
Rooney, who missed his 10th United spot-kick in the third-round replay against West Ham, was the subject of some withering remarks about it from manager Sir Alex Ferguson in his program notes. Not surprisingly when United won a penalty after 70 seconds, the responsibility was handed to Ryan Giggs, who duly beat Mark Schwarzer low to his right. But Rooney shrugged off the slight to turn in a typically frenetic shift, eventually rewarded when he struck a superb second goal early in the second-half.
Javier Hernandez rounded off the win with two goals of his own as Fulham, featuring former United record signing Dimitar Berbatov, were beaten with embarrassing ease.
Ferguson, whose squad went to Qatar for some warm-weather training ahead of the tie, said: "The FA Cup is an important trophy for us this season. We haven't won it for nine years, we really need to put in a big performance this year.
"Players like Rio Ferdinand have never won an FA Cup medal and we need to do something about that."
Ferguson and Rooney have a complex relationship. The manager has never fully forgiven the player for questioning United's ambition a couple of seasons ago and the arrival of Robin Van Persie has meant the 27-year-old has been left out of the Premier League starting line-up on more than one occasion this season.
With Van Persie given a rest yesterday, Rooney had the chance to take centre stage, even if the manager made sure he did not take United's early penalty when Aaron Hughes handled.
"Ryan is one of our best penalty-takers," said Ferguson. "I think it was fair that, with Wayne missing the penalties he's had, it was the time to give him a break. He'll come back to it, no question about that.
"One thing about Wayne, it doesn't faze him if he misses. He has a terrific temperament like that."
In his program notes, Ferguson had said "you can certainly criticise Wayne" for his poor penalty record.