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Premier League

  • 21 April 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • Craven Cottage, London
  • Referee: L. Mason
  • • Attendance: 25689

Fulham 2-1 Wigan: Senderos & Pogrebnyak seal comeback to leave Martinez's men with work still to do

Fulham 2-1 Wigan: Senderos & Pogrebnyak seal comeback to leave Martinez's men with work still to do


The Latics had a vital point stolen from their grasp when the Cottagers' defender netted in the last minute of a largely dull game, which had looked destined to end as a draw

Wigan Athletic remain in the Premier League relegation battle after losing 2-1 to Fulham, thanks to a late winner from Philippe Senderos.

The first half saw little action with the visitors happy to sit deep and allow the Cottagers to try and break them down, at which they mostly failed.

However, two quickfire goals in the second half from either side gave the match a glimmer of hope, and with the hosts increasing the pressure in the last 20 minutes they bagged a winner in the stoppage time.

Martin Jol had both Pavel Pogrebnyak and Andy Johnson fit for selection once more but decided to start the former and leave the latter on the bench, while Philippe Senderos replaced Stephen Kelly in defence.

Roberto Martinez named the same side that beat Arsenal 2-1 on Monday, with Shaun Maloney returning to the squad but only named on the bench, while Hugo Rodallega was still missing.

The early pressure was all from the home side, with Clint Dempsey and Pogrebnyak linking up well numerous times in the opening 10 minutes, but they were unable to create any clear-cut chances.

It was Wigan who had the first chance of the game, as Franco Di Santo tried his luck with a volley from Maynor Figueroa's ball in, but the Latics man lashed his effort over.

The hosts then managed to get a slight foothold in the match, with the front two again showing some touches of class, and it was indeed Fulham who had the next clear effort.

John Arne Riise was brought down by Emmerson Boyce on the left-side, which presented Danny Murphy with an opportunity to put the ball into the box from the free-kick. However, he tricked everyone in the ground by rolling it to Damien Duff but unfortunately for Jol's men he mishit his shot and sliced the effort over.

Pogrebnyak was next to have a go, after Brede Hangeland made a charge forward from the back, but his shot was deflected out for a corner. The massive centre-back then got his head on the delivery from Duff but nodded wide.

After a slightly promising opening 20 minutes from the hosts, the fact that Jol's side have nothing left to play for seemed to set in. The Cottagers were casual at times and lacked real penetration. Duff took a corner which was met with no challenge in the air and for long spells the ball was just hit from end to end.

As the half-hour mark approached the home side did carve out a good opening. Riise, who was up and down the left-flank all day, slotted it through to Dempsey who then rolled the ball along the face of goal. With Ali Al-Habsi stranded all it needed was a touch in but no-one was busting a gut to finish.

There was little more action before the break but Mark Schwarzer was forced into his first save of the afternoon when Jordi Gomez hit a shot towards his near post. The Fulham keeper collected the ball at the second time of asking after an initial spill.

After half-time the Wigan faithful thought they had scored five minutes into the second-half when Gomez scrambled an effort at goal, after the Latics' corner was headed on to him. However, the ball only managed to ripple the side netting.

The visitors then broke the deadlock with 57 minutes played, Boyce beating Schwarzer with a long-range low effort. However just as the travelling crowd looked up Pogbrebnyak hit back with an instant equaliser.

Fulham then had a brilliant chance to take the lead and their fans must have been left wondering how they did not. Riise hit a cross into the ground which by-passed Al-Habsi but Pogrebnyak somehow hit the bar from two yards out, although replays suggest the ball may have crossed the line. Minutes later Pogrebnyak again nearly gave the hosts the lead, but his header went just over the bar.

With 20 minutes to play things died down once more and both sides were cautious. Then with nearly 10 minutes left Pogbrebnyak again somehow managed to fluff a glorious chance. Al-Habsi made a good initial save but as the ball fell but to the forwards he completely mishit the ball and was denied by the post.

Fulham continued to push for a winner in the final stages and were desperately unlucky when after a free-kick from the right hand side a Wigan defender's clearance hit Senderos but just went inches wide.

However, the former Arsenal player did get a bit of a luck in the final minute when he headed home the winner. Senderos' goal condemns Wigan to a nail-biting final three games.

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