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22 September 2012
• The DW Stadium, Wigan
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 19284
A. Koné 90'+
H. Rodallega 31'
D. Duff 68'
That brings our coverage to an end, thanks for reading, it's been a pleasure.
It comes to nothing however and the final whistle blows immediately. Fulham collect their first away win of the season to move into fourth place as things stand. As for Wigan, the Latics are without a win in three games now and things are looking bleak for Roberto Martinez.
90' + 3'
Yellow Card Chris Baird
90' + 3'
In the final minutes now and Wigan have a free kick half way into the opposition half. Al Habsi's gone forward!
90' + 1'
Goal Arouna Kone
GOAL!!!! 1-2. Wigan get a goal back and Arouna Kone finally get his goal after tucking in a goal-mouth scramble from a corner. Wigan have a minute and a half to find an equaliser.
We're into three minutes of stoppage time now and this game looks very much over.
I said at half time that Beausejour had been crossing accurately in the first half, well the second half has been a stark contrast. He's often struggled to beat the first defender. Rodallega's been substituted and he's received a round of applause from the Wigan supporters who don't forget his efforts when saving the club from relegation a couple of years ago.
Hand-ball shouts for Wigan against Fulham's John Arne Riise from a Miyaichi cross but the referee waves them away.
The substitutions have made a difference for the home side. Miyaichi and Callum McManaman have injected some pace and youthful vigour to proceedings but it looks as if it'll be in vain as Fulham are simply closing the game out.
Wigan's big players haven't played particularly well today. McCarthy's given the ball away far too many times, Kone's finishing has been poor and at the back, captain Gary Caldwell appears to be at fault for both Fulham goals.
It should 3-0 Fulham. A good run by Steve Sidwell down the right ends in a cross that finds its way into the path of Berbatov but in the six yard box with only Al Habsi to beat, the Bulgarian puts it too close to the goalkeeper and the chance is spurned.
Credit to Wigan, they're still coming forward and Miyaichi's first touch is a cross that Boselli wins in the air in the six yard box only for Hangeland to scramble it away. Time's running out though and you have to say Fulham look comfortable.
Wigan are about to bring in Ryo Miyaichi, who is on loan at the DW from Arsenal. He'll bring some much needed pace into this team. Kone apart, they look rather paceless and when the passing football isn't quite firing, sometimes you need that bit of variety pace can bring.
As I write that, a Beausejour free kick sees a Wigan defender get his head to the ball and force a wonderful reaction stop from Mark Schwarzer. Could that be Wigan's best chance gone?
That second goal looks to have sucked the life out of the Wigan players and the crowd. They need a goal fast if they are to have any chance in mounting a comeback.
Yellow Card Steve Sidwell
Wigan only have themselves to blame. They've had enough chances in this second half to score at least twice and Mauro Boselli in particular will be thinking about the chance he missed minutes before Duff's goal. The Latics' defending also left much to be desired in the build up.
Assist Bryan Ruiz
Goal Damien Duff
GOAL!!!!! 2-0 Fulham and Wigan are made to pay for their profligacy. Rodallega gets clear down the left, he cuts inside and plays the ball to Ruiz, who shows good footwork and strength to force the ball across to the open Damien Duff and the veteran Irishman makes no mistake as he tucks it away to possibly seal the three points for the Cottagers.
A mad minute as first Ruiz's free kick forces a decent save from Al Habsi, only for Wigan to charge up field. The ball breaks for James McCarthy who slams a shot against Schwarzer, the rebound falls for Boselli who has the goal gaping but somehow, he flicks it wide of the post. Boselli's claiming a corner, the truth is that was just very poor finishing. Wigan have missed some very good chances in this half.
The tempo's slowed somewhat and this allows Fulham to make some headway into the Wigan half. Rodallega's just been brought down by a clumsy tackle from Caldwell and Fulham have a free kick in a promising position.
Again, it's Wigan who come forward. They do keep the ball well but they just lack that penetrative edge. Roberto Martinez is about to bring on Wigan's record signing Mauro Boselli as he looks to give Arouna Kone the support his running deserves.
Fulham have brought on their club record signing Bryan Ruiz. Can he stem the Wigan tide?
Massive chance for Wigan. Kone finds himself sprinting clear of the Wigan defence and finds himself one on one with Schwarzer but the Ivorian's touch is heavy and his shot is smothered away. Huge chance that for the Latics but Fulham just haven't turned up so far in this half.
Jean Beausejour is always in acres of space on the left hand side. Sooner or later one of his deliveries is going to cause Fulham some real problems. This time, his cross is collected by Schwarzer but the Aussies lands awkwardly and there's a bit of a time-out.
Wigan have started the second half the sharper and in Arouna Kone they have a real threat. He forces a corner which is cleared but eventually forced back in by Emmerson Boyce. His cross is met by Ben Watson who bullets a header wide.
Wigan have the ball in the net through Shaun Maloney but it's rightly offside for offside against Jordi Gomez, who played the ball to the Scotland international to tap in the finish.
The second half begins with Kone racing clear of the Fulham defence only to fail to pick out a team mate with his cut back.
We're under way again at the DW.
It's been said many times but Dimitar Berbatov really is going to be a class act for Fulham. He hasn't been on the ball much but when he has, he's been sensational. Martin Jol's even got him doing defensive work for the team. He could be the signing of the transfer window.
If Wigan are going to get back into this game, you sense Jean Beausejour is going to be crucial for them in the second half. Most of the home side's best moments have come through the Chile international, who is giving them genuine width on the left hand side with an accurate delivery to match it. The worry is that with only Arouna Kone in the box, will the Latics struggle to meet Beausejour's delivery?
Incidentally, Hugo Rodallega didn't celebrate in the stadium where the fans used to adore him. Nice touch.
It's half-time at the DW and Fulham will be quietly pleased with the way they have performed in securing their one goal lead. Wigan may have bossed possession but lack a cutting edge, something Fulham seem to have in abundance particularly with Dimitar Berbatov in such menacing form. It's been an entertaining half though and one can imagine Wigan cranking up the pressure in the second half.
Yellow Card Aaron Hughes
It's fair to say Ben Watson isn't having the best first half. After having a few shots which have threatened Row Z more than they have Mark Schwarzer, he's just hit the first defender when attempting a corner.
Lee Probert angers the Wigan faithful when halting what had looked a promising attack to show a yellow card to Fulham's Aaron Hughes. Wigan pressing for an equaliser before half time.
I've seen it all now - Berbatov has just charged back to the edge of his own penalty box to pinch the ball off the feet of James McCarthy just as the Irishman looked set to pull the trigger! Incredible stuff!
It's end to end stuff! No sooner had Wigan hit the bar when Damien Duff managed to get free and found Kacaniklic on the top left hand corner of the box who scuffs a shot well wide. Chance for Fulham, that.
Wigan go so close to an equaliser! Jean Beausejour escapes down the left hand and rolls a cross that runs perfectly for Jordi Gomez inside the penalty box who absolutely cracks it against the crossbar! So unlucky there, a superb effort.
Wigan's response to going a goal down so far has been positive as they once again hem Fulham in their penalty box by keeping the ball on the edge of the box. The Latics just a lack a bit of penetration though, it's all very side to side and eventually it comes to nothing.
It's a stretch to say that goal had been coming but Berbatov and Rodallega had shown signs that they were just beginning to form a connection. Wigan didn't heed the warnings and for all their pretty passing, have failed to make much of an impression on the Fulham goal.
Assist D. Berbatov
Goal Hugo Rodallega
GOAL!!!! 1-0 Fulham and it's Hugo Rodallega against his former club. The goal comes after Kacaniklic runs at the Wigan backline with his pace and trickery. The ball eventually finds it's way to Berbatov who produces a pin-point cross for the Colombian to rise above Caldwell and score his first goal for Fulham.
Arouna Kone has just absolutely ripped Brede Hangeland for pace and after finding Jordi Gomez with an accurate pass, the Spaniard balloons his shot over the bar.
Wigan's best chance so far as a period of possession results in Beausejour's cross finding an incoming Boyce who throws himself at the header only to see it flash wide of goal.
Berbatov is really beginning to shine now. The Wigan defenders can't pick him up as he floats in between them and the midfielder like a ghost. The Bulgarian forces a save out of Al Habsi with a long range effort.
Fulham's best period of the match so far by quite some distance as they come close to scoring four times within the space of a couple of minutes. Dimitar Berbatov is inevitably at the heart of things, producing a cross for a weak header from former Wigan striker Hugo Rodallega. From the resulting corner a goal-bound Brede Hangeland header is acrobatically cleared off the line by Beausejour. You can't take your eyes off this one so far!
Probert is still stretching rather gingerly. Think of the kids, referee! The stoppage appears to have killed the game's tempo somewhat, with some wayward passes from both teams.
Hilarity mixed with concern here as referee Lee Probert finds himself in the middle of a full-blooded, sliding 50-50 between Steve Sidwell and Ben Watson and experiences the full force of both players. Probert is down and receiving treatment from the Wigan physio. Went down a little too easily for me, you can tell because he's already on his feet!
The Wigan fans are on their feet as their team are awarded a free kick in a good position just outside the area. Watson and Maloney stood over it menacingly only for the former to completely hash it miles over the bar.
Wigan have got Fulham penned in a little here. The Cottagers drop deep as they face Wigan's tiki-taka. The home side eventually work the ball to Jean Beausejour who slips as he attempts the cross and the chance is wasted.
Wigan are playing some really good stuff in the middle of the park. Ben Watson shows a fantastic range of passing as he pings it out to Emmerson Boyce marauding forward from right back but the defender shanks a cross straight out of play. Promising though.
Fulham threaten the Wigan goal for the first time when a corner isn't properly dealt with by the home defence and he of the unpronounceable ame, Alex Kacaniklic has a snap shot from just inside the area that is blocked.
It's been a fast start to this game with both sides looking to get the ball down and attack. Wigan have had the majority of the ball but Fulham have looked sharp, particularly when Dimitar Berbatov gets the ball.
The home side come roaring out of the blocks and it's the striker curiously wearing the number 2, Arouna Kone, who has a fierce strike from outside the box that stings the hands of Mark Schwarzer.
Wigan get us started then.
Unsurprisingly, Martin Jol sticks with the same line up that produced the goods for him at Craven Cottage last week, although Bryan Ruiz and Mladen Petric both return from injuries to take their place on the bench.
So Wigan make two changes from their defeat at Old Trafford - Franco Di Santo and James McArthur miss out and are replaced by Ben Watson and Jordi Gomez.
FULHAM: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Duff, Baird, Sidwell, Kacaniklic, Berbatov, Rodallega. Subs: Stockdale, Kelly, Kasami, Petric, Ruiz, Karagounis, Briggs.
WIGAN: Al Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell, Ramis, Figueroa, Beausejour, McCarthy, Watson, Gomez, Maloney, Kone. Subs: Pollitt, Jones, Crusat, McManaman, McArthur, Boselli, Miyaichi.
Hi there and welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of Wigan v Fulham at the DW Stadium. I'm Adam Mazrani and you'll have to deal with me for the next couple of hours unfortunately. This game promises to be an entertaining contest between two attractive teams with both teams looking for firsts this season - Wigan have yet to win at home while notoriously poor travellers Fulham have lost both matches on the road so far this season. The two teams come into the match with contrasting attitudes. Wigan are looking to bounce back from their 4-0 thumping at Manchester United last week while Fulham were were comfortably dispatching West Brom 3-0, with Dimitar Berbatov starring on his full debut.
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