Johnson 'up and running' after injury nightmare

Wigan 1 Fulham 1
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The Independent Online

Turned out nice again, the celebrated Wiganer George Formby would have put it. Not for the late ukulele-strumming entertainer's local team but for one of the class acts from what seem like the Premier League old days.

It was like a blast from the past when AJ hit the goalscoring mark four minutes from time on Saturday. Not since 14 March 2009, a veritable eternity in Premier League terms, had Andy Johnson scored in the top flight. That was also in the north-west, which has become a pivotal place for the former £8.6m Evertonian – at Bolton. It was before the fateful, accidental collision with Christopher Samba at Blackburn that threatened to curtail the career of the goalpoacher who has won eight England caps.

All of the frustration of his long battle of the wounded knee, which he won with the help of the famed Colorado specialist Richard Steadman, and of his struggle against more minor injury setbacks on the comeback trail, found an overdue release when the 29-year-old's right-foot shot nestled in the back of Ali Al-Habsi's net. It mattered nothing to Johnson that he needed the help of a significant deflection off the legs of Gary Caldwell, and that the brilliant Al-Habsi almost palmed the ball clear.

"I'm really pleased for Andy," Mark Hughes, the Fulham manager, said. "He's come back from a really significant injury. He's been out for a long time. But he's got his goal now. That's him up and running."

Substitutes:

Wigan McArthur (Stam,72), Di Santo (Watson, 87).

Fulham Dembele (Kamara, 59), A Johnson (Davies, 76).

Booked: Wigan Alcaraz, Figueroa, Rodallega, Di Santo. Fulham Pantsil, Hangeland.

Man of the match Al-Habsi.

Referee A Taylor (Cheshire).

Attendance 18,820.

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