Woeful Wigan spooked by Dempsey the deliverer
Fulham 2 Wigan Athletic 0
Sunday 31 October 2010
Clint Dempsey may be forever remembered as the scourge of England after his goal in the World Cup – not forgetting Rob Green's contribution – but his two strikes here were an impressive demonstration that he does not always need such help from the opposition to get his name on the scoresheet.
A header, guided inside the far post, and a thumping shot 15 minutes later were belated proof that with the American leading the line Fulham can win without Bobby Zamora.
It has been seven weeks and as many games since they lost Zamora to injury, against Wolverhampton early last month, which was also their previous win. If they can beat Aston Villa, the visitors next weekend, that will be more convincing proof of Fulham's credentials, because Wigan offered nothing in the way of a test. On Hallowe'en eve it was frightful stuff, and Roberto Martinez agreed. The Wigan manager said: "We deserved nothing, it was our worst performance of the season. There was no energy, we were flat and very weak."
Fulham's first move of genuine intent brought its deserved reward. Two quick passes saw Zoltan Gera move the ball out to Carlos Salcido and Dempsey angled his header from the Mexican's cross inside Ali al-Habsi's far post. That was after 30 minutes, and in the next 15 minutes Fulham could have scored more – through Gera, who hit the post, and Dempsey again – before Dempsey got his second. Chris Baird's low cross was the cue for the American, who timed his effort perfectly. Al-Habsi could have had Green in goal alongside him and neither would have been able to get anywhere near it.
Mark Hughes, scorer of a fair few goals himself in his heyday, praised the build-up as much as the strikes themselves, claiming that was proof of how his sideare developing.
Dempsey's second goal came just before half-time, but could not have changed the manner of Martinez's team-talk. He took off the ineffective Franco Di Santo and brought on Jordi Gomez, but he would have needed at least double his permitted three substitutionsto make any improvement.
Only Charles N'Zogbia, twice from long range, troubled Mark Schwarzer, with the Australian tipping a free-kick from 35 yards over the crossbar. Not that the referee saw it that way, only giving a goal-kick. That summed up Wigan's afternoon.
Referee: Andre Marriner
Man of the match: Dempsey
Match rating: 6/10
Latest in Sport
Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
Manchester City vs Chelsea match report: Frank Lampard shows no joy after denying Chelsea victory
Leicester City 5 Manchester United 3 player ratings: Leonard Ulloa? Radamel Falcao? Jamie Vardy? Angel Di Maria? Who was the star man?
Leicester City vs Manchester United match report: Jamie Vardy runs lopsided United ragged in amazing comeback
- 1 All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': TV reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Alicia Keys leaks nude photo 'to create a kinder and more peaceful world'
- 5 Clothes store Joy angers mental health campaigners with Twitter exchange on bipolar disorders
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God