Match Report: Fulham add to problems at home

Fulham 1 Wigan Athletic 1: Martin Jol worried his attacking line-up can only score once while Wigan fear the worst for Ramis

Craven Cottage

Fulham used to be predictable – usually winning at home, seldom winning away.

These, though, are strange days for Craven Cottage regulars, who saw their team follow up a victory away to West Bromwich with another below-par home performance yesterday. Martin Jol’s team have now recorded only one home victory in seven League matches, and only two wins anywhere in the last 13.

Yesterday they took the lead against Wigan Athletic with a spectacular strike from Giorgos Karagounis but could not add to it and paid the price. Although Fulham almost won the game late on, defeat would have been hard on a resilient Wigan side who forced the save of the match from Mark Schwarzer and deservedly climbed out of the bottom three.

Fulham are not quite in a relegation struggle yet, and Jol believes they will not be, but he admitted that two shots on target from the attacking team he had fielded was worrying. “It’s always the same story,” he said. “We need another goal but we can’t get it. We played with seven offensive players, and it was a gamble. We have a problem with balance, but we have quality and it will see us through.”

Wigan started the game well, but Fulham began to dominate possession through Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz and it was a surprise when Berbatov failed to control Ruiz’s clever chip over the defence. Mladen Petric was wasteful with two good chances, shooting high from a free-kick and then after taking Berbatov’s pass inside from the left.

So it was no surprise when Fulham went ahead after 22 minutes as Karagounis took possession 35 yards out, produced a sudden burst of acceleration that fooled a defender, and hit a shot from 22 yards that sped past the right hand of the diving Ali Al-Habsi and in off the base of the post. It was the 35-year-old former Greece captain’s second memorable strike at the Hammersmith End in eight days, following the dipping volley in the FA Cup third-round tie against Blackpool that had kept Fulham in the competition.

Fulham remained in control but without testing Al-Habsi, even from a series of free-kicks – since Karagounis is a dead-ball expert and had shown that he knew where the goal is, it was mysterious that Petric and Kieran Richardson were allowed to keep squandering them.

It proved costly for Fulham. Shaun Maloney fired a warning shot for the top corner after 55 minutes but Schwarzer flung himself to his left and got just enough of the ball to touch it on to the crossbar. But the save only delayed the inevitable.

In the 71st minute, Franco Di Santo cut in from the left, went past some token challenges and let fly from the edge of the penalty area, the ball beating Schwarzer high past the keeper’s left hand.

The Argentinian nearly gave Wigan the lead shortly after, his low shot from the right bouncing off Schwarzer and wide, and the goalkeeper saved once more when Di Santo went through another feeble challenge.

The Fulham fans were jeering at that point, but their team could have won the match in the final seconds but for an astonishing clearance. Ruiz robbed Ronnie Stam and shot past Al-Habsi only for Maynor Figueroa to produce a diving header off the goalline.

“It was a special clearance,” the Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said. “Between their goal and that action I thought we were the better side. It would have been all too easy to accept Fulham’s momentum. Getting results is a question of what you do in both boxes and it’s easy to see the improvements we’ve made.”

The negative was the probable loss for the season of the defender Ivan Ramis with suspected cruciate ligament damage. “I fear the worst,” said Martinez. “We will miss him.”

Fulham (4-4-1-1): Schwarzer; Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Richardson; Duff (Baird, 82), Karagounis, Ruiz, Kacaniklic (Dejagah, 87); Berbatov; Petric (Rodallega, 65).

Wigan (3-5-1-1): Al-Habsi; Ramis (Stam, 90), Caldwell, Figueroa; Boyce, McArthur, McCarthy, Jones (Gomez, 65), Beausejour; Maloney; Di Santo.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg.

Man of the match: Schwarzer (Fulham)

Match rating: 6/10

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
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

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones