Wigan hit bottom after eighth successive defeat
Wigan 0 Fulham 2
Saturday 29 October 2011
Wigan suffered their eighth successive defeat to slump to the bottom of the Barclays Premier League table as goals from Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele earned Fulham a precious three points at the DW Stadium.
The Latics had more than enough chances to win the game but just could not find the net, with Gary Caldwell heading over in the first half and Victor Moses and Maynor Figueroa both hitting the woodwork in the second.
Fulham were much more clinical, Dempsey finishing off a break in the 41st minute to put them ahead before Dembele clinched a first away victory of the season four minutes from time.
It was the visitors who started the brighter, with Andrew Johnson and Dembele looking dangerous, while the visitors were forced into an early change, bringing on James McArthur after Mohamed Diame came off worst in a challenge with Steve Sidwell.
Having repelled the Fulham attacks, Wigan slowly began to exert some pressure of their own, with David Jones seeing a shot saved by Mark Schwarzer before guiding another effort past the post.
Approaching the half-hour mark, the home side really should have gone ahead.
First, full-back Figueroa rampaged through the Fulham defence before setting up Albert Crusat for a cross that was only cleared as far as Ben Watson, whose volley was expertly tipped over the bar by Schwarzer.
From the resulting corner, captain Caldwell was left unmarked eight yards out but could only head over.
After an uninspiring beginning, the game had opened up, and Johnson might have done better than shoot weakly at Ali Al Habsi when he found himself in space on the right of the area.
There was a heart-in-mouth moment for Schwarzer when he fumbled Moses' low cross-shot but, with Rodallega waiting, the ball bounced just past the post.
Wigan had paid for a failure to turn their dominance into goals at Newcastle last week, and so it proved again in the 41st minute when Dempsey put Fulham ahead.
Danny Murphy launched a quick break by finding Bobby Zamora out on the left and his low cross was perfect for Dempsey, whose shot bounced into the net despite the best efforts of Al Habsi.
Still Wigan could have been level at half-time as Moses got a foot to Watson's shot but, with Schwarzer struggling, the ball flew just the wrong side of the post.
Wigan began the second half fuelled by a sense that they deserved better. But still the clear-cut chance would not come and at the other end Figueroa had to be alert to deny Johnson after Zamora broke away down the left.
The Latics' luck was certainly out in the 54th minute when Moses let fly from 25 yards with a stunning volley that had Schwarzer well beaten but bounced off the angle of post and bar. Rodallega was first to the rebound but was flagged offside.
Fulham were struggling to get out of their own half but they remained a threat on the break and in the 62nd minute Zamora got on the end of a long ball and smashed a volley off the top of the bar.
More and more there was a sense that, again, this was just not going to be Wigan's day. Fulham appeared to have ridden out the storm and threatened themselves when Zdenek Grygera played in Johnson down the right, but the angle was tight and he shot wide.
At the other end, Rodallega was given a chance from 25 yards out after Dickson Etuhu fouled substitute Di Santo but his effort was straight at Schwarzer.
The goalkeeper needed the help of his woodwork again in the 84th minute when Figueroa drove forward and struck a swerving shot that Schwarzer thought was going well wide but in fact bounced off the post.
And Wigan's fate was sealed two minutes later as the defence backed off and allowed Dembele the freedom to run to the edge of the area and place his shot wide of Al Habsi.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
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