Hugo Rodallega returns to haunt Wigan

Wigan Athletic 1 Fulham 2: Fulham striker sets up season’s first away win for Martin Jol’s notoriously bad travellers

The DW Stadium

It took a moment of fantastically funny showmanship to light up what was not the most appealing opening to a Premier League fixture this season.

Steve Sidwell, while attempting to dispossess Ben Watson in midfield, got his tackle tangled with Lee Probert – an unwitting bystander – and upended the referee. Probert performed a roll of Sergio Busquets proportions before receiving treatment and jokingly brandishing a red card to the accidental aggressor.

The comedic interlude to what had been a game played at a rather lethargic pace in the Lancashire sunshine served to brighten the visitors in front of a relatively busy DW Stadium, following a “buy one get one free” offer – though the home fans ended up wishing that Hugo Rodallega had not turned up. 

On his return since a summer departure to pastures new, Rodallega’s first few touches had been tepidly booed but the jeers lacked real conviction for a striker who had so often conjured brilliance for Roberto Martinez’s side. And when he opened the scoring and refused to celebrate, the Wigan supporters chose to applaud his decency. Dimitar Berbatov, drifting wide, was allowed to swing a centre over, and Rodallega met it with a thundering header past the goalkeeper. In doing so, the Colombian became only the second player to score 15 Premier League goals inside this ground – the other being Henri Camara – but it was not the way the Latics would have envisaged him equalling that record when he last found the net here in January.

Martin Jol, said he “knew that Rodallega would be motivated to do something nice and that is exactly what he did”, and on the face of it, there seemed to be little Wigan anger at the former player coming back to haunt them, but the natives were restless. The frustration was aimed at their own players. The disapproval forced Wigan to rally, but they missed good chances and Jordi Gomez hit the crossbar.

This fixture has been a stable source of away points for Fulham. They are now unbeaten here in seven, albeit five of those were draws, but the results provide comfort for a team who are notorious strugglers on the road. 

“Last year we had four wins and five draws away from home. That is not bad but certainly not good,” Jol said. “Five midfielders left the club – a couple of them I wanted to keep. I was so satisfied for Sidwell and [Chris] Baird. They didn’t play over the last couple of months because we had a different midfield with [Mahamadou] Diarra and Moussa Dembele.”

It still has been a reasonably good start to the season for Martinez, but the absence of Franco Di Santo from the squad shone a light on the threadbare squad in an attacking sense. Mauro Boselli was the only striking option, thrown on with half an hour to play. The Argentine’s glaring miss from six yards moments after being introduced summed up their problems when the top scorer is absent.

“Overall, we didn’t deserve to lose,” Martinez said. “We had the better chances, but you need to score goals. Our performances need to be more solid. Since the international break we have lost a bit of focus.”

Martinez is already looking for attacking options to target in January, but his public admiration of Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has angered the Eagles’ chairman Steve Parish, who took to Twitter to lambast the Wigan boss. They continue to monitor the player, and lacked his sort of pace in behind against a stubborn Fulham back four. “Having nicked Victor [Moses] due to administration, then selling for £9 million Roberto would like it ever so much if we would roll over,” Parish said. “I guess he’ll just try to unsettle our player using the papers.”

Damien Duff showed Boselli how it was done, converting Bryan Ruiz’s assist on the counter. Kone’s turn and spin in the dying minutes almost summoned a late comeback but it could not spoil Fulham’s best start to a campaign since 2002.

Wigan (3-4-2-1): Al Habsi; Ramis, Caldwell (Miyaichi, 79), Figueroa; Boyce (McManaman, 79); Watson, McCarthy, Beausejour; Gomez (Boselli, 62), Maloney; Kone.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Duff, Baird, Sidwell, Kacaniklic (Ruiz, 59); Rodallega (Briggs, 88), Berbatov.

Referee: Lee Probert

Man of the match: Rodallega (Fulham)

Match rating: 7/10

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Sport
football
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?