Schwarzer's heroics defy Wigan blitz

Wigan Athletic 1 Fulham 1

On a day when giants collided at Stamford Bridge and Phil Brown fought for his survival on Humberside, this match was so obviously a footnote that the first words of this report should be "and finally".

And yet, as the Beatles proved 46 years ago to the day when appearing bottom of a seven-act bill on Thank Your Lucky Stars, sometimes something glorious lurks in the shadows. This was an often fabulous and always interesting game of football, a thought that might sustain the handful of Fulham fans on their journey back to London. "It felt more like a 3-3 than a 1-1," their manager, Roy Hodgson, said.

The last half-empty arena his side had appeared in was the Olympic Stadium in Rome on Thursday night which had been scarred by refereeing decisions, including Erik Nevland's dismissal which Hodgson described as "one of the most laughable I have ever seen".

In the less grandiose surroundings of the DW Stadium – which has fewer classical statues but rather better pies – Nevland experienced another kind of frustration as his early header from Bobby Zamora's cross looped over Chris Kirkland and struck the post.

Wigan's response was emphatic. Hodgson wondered aloud how Erik Edman's cross could be knocked down so simply and effectively by Paul Scharner to be finished off by Emmerson Boyce for the centre-half's second goal in three games.

Unlike Hodgson, who admitted that after the breathless drama of their victory over Liverpool and his growing disillusionment with their Europa League campaign he was happy with a point, Roberto Martinez wanted more. "You could use Mark Schwarzer as an example to young people of how effective goalkeepers can be," the Wigan manager remarked. "If we play like that in our next 10 games, we will win eight of them."

Of all Schwarzer's heroics, two saves stood out; both from Charles N'Zogbia. The first from a 30-yard shot was pushed on to the crossbar; the second, after a run of rather more than 30 yards, was turned away at full stretch.

Under both Martinez and his predecessor, Steve Bruce, Wigan have been adept at unearthing footballers from some of the game's more distant shores. Martinez spent 14 months watching Mohamed Diamé at Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish Second Division and on this evidence the comparisons with a young Patrick Vieira do not sound outlandish.

"He has power, quality and composure on the ball; Vieira had that," said Martinez. "Once he understands the nature of the British game, he will be a special player."

There have been plenty of words used to describe Titus Bramble, whose clumsy tackle on Clint Dempsey as he turned to shoot conceded a penalty that the American converted himself. But perhaps the truest was Bruce's observation that: "Titus doesn't make many mistakes, but when he does, they are always expensive."

Wigan Athletic (4-4-2): Kirkland; Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Edman (Sinclair, 78); N'Zogbia, Scharner, Thomas, Diame; Rodallega, Scotland (Koumas, 90). Substitutes not used: Pollitt (gk), Cho, Amaya, Gomez, De Ridder.

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky; Duff, Greening (Etuhu, 79), Baird, Dempsey; Zamora, Nevland (Gera, 85). Substitutes not used: Zuberbuhler (gk), Kelly, Riise, Smalling, Dikgacoi.

Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).

Booked: Wigan Athletic Edman, Bramble; Fulham Etuhu.

Man of the match: Schwarzer.

Attendance: 16,172.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
News
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
news
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
film
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
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

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform