FULHAM boss Roy Hodgson admitted that Accrington’s less-than-glamorous League Two facilities provided a test for his Premier League millionaires, more used to Old Trafford than the Crown Ground.
The Cottagers players spent the bare minimum time in Accrington’s wood panelled, small changing rooms, landing at 2pm, warming up, playing the game and then disappearing back to the hotel more-or-less immediately after the game.
Hodgson said: "Every experience that doesn’t damage you makes you stronger and luckily this was an experience that hasn’t damaged us too much because we got away with a victory.
"And I think Accrington will be patting themselves on the back for making such a good game of it.
"I think it’s a bit of a win all-round situation because we go away with the actual victory and the chance to play in the next round, but Accrington go away bolstered by the fact that, when they work as hard as that and pressurise as well as that and throw their bodies in the way as often as they did, then they will have a good season.
"We did prepare for it but it’s like everything else – you get very spoilt in the Premier League. You can talk about these pitches and talk about these conditions, until you are actually out their experiencing it, it’s only words.
"You need the actual physical experience of it. We are so unbelievably spoilt these days, every pitch you play on is like a billiard green and it’s so much easier to pass the ball.
"We don’t play against that many teams that stop the ball at the back and just hoist it forward to your backline. I was happy that we’ve got two big centre-backs in that situation who can head the ball. Otherwise we would had many more difficulties."
He continued: "We came into the game as favourites, you accept that. But you know also it’s going to be a tough game because you know the home team know their pitch and their ground well, they know how to play and also they are an energetic, enthusiastic and hard working team.
"So on paper people think Fulham should win that one, but you know as a Fulham manager that it’s easier said than done."
Hodgson shared a drink with counterpart John Coleman after the game and the former Blackburn boss admitted Stanley won his respect.
He added: "The game was as tricky as I thought it would be and I’m just delighted that we got through
"They made life very difficult for us but, in the second half, thankfully we showed them a bit more of our qualities and we ended up winning the game relatively comfortably, but all credit to Accrington for the magnificent show they put up."