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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
January 12, 2013
• Craven Cottage, London
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 25442
G. Karagounis 22'
F. Di Santo 71'
Martin Jol will note the lack of drive Fulham displayed in midfield in the second half with Steve Sidwell and Mahamadou Diarra both out injured, and could redouble his efforts to sign reinforcements in that area. Roberto Martinez will likely be more pleased with the result, with his side having created several chances once going a goal down despite the absence of top-scorer Arouna Kone. The Latics now head home with a deserved point while Fulham rue the off-the-line clearance that denied them a last-minute winner.
Having endured a poor run of form leading up to the match, each side emerges from Craven Cottage with a point in a fair reflection of their respective efforts. Fulham went into the break a goal up after a stunning effort from Giorgos Karagonis, as they looked marginally the better of the two sides in the first half. However, the Cottagers were woefully uninspiring after the break, appearing content to settle for a one goal lead, and Wigan gained momentum before Franco Di Santo capitalised on a quickly-taken free kick with an excellent strike from the edge of the box. Fulham at that point looked like they might not manage to survive to the final whistle with a point, but as the final whistle approached they were back in the ascendency. Bryan Ruiz, whose creativity had been on display after being moved back into midfield to cope with an injury crisis, had an excellent strike cleared off the line well into stoppage time, but a Fulham win would have been unfair on Wigan's impressive second half display.
90' + 7'
The late effort from Ruiz proves the last meaningful act of the game and the referee blows the final whistle with the score at 1-1.
90' + 6'
Figueroa clears Ruiz's shot off the line! The Costa Rican powers past the feeble defending of Ronnie Stam to reach a long ball and powers an excellent shot from an angle towards the far post past the advancing Al-Habsi. The Honduras international defender is there to head off the line, and the ball once again finds its way Ruiz on the edge of the box but his second effort is blocked by Boyce.
90' + 5'
Fulham put together a series of passes in the Wigan half as the Latics camp outside the edge of their box. The ball is eventually cleared but the Cottagers resume the pressure.
90' + 3'
Wigan kick the ball down the field as play resumes and the ball finds its way to Beausejour on the left flank. His cross is cleared and his second attempt moments later is blasted wide by Boyce, as the game looks to be heading towards a draw.
90' + 2'
Chris Baird attempts to cross the ball but over-hits his effort, meanwhile centre-back Ivan Ramis lies prone on the field having appeared to twist his knee. He looks in a lot of pain and the stretcher is brought on which will likely bring an extension in added time.
Riether swings a cross from deep into the box and Gary Caldwell heads the ball away for a corner. The ball is cleared back to the Costa Rican and the Cottagers work the ball to substitute Ashkan Dejagah on the left flank, whose cross runs out for a throw-in as Fulham look for a winner. Dejagah's disappointing shot rolls wide to end the move.
Wigan win another corner on the left flank but Schwarzer claims the delivery. Fulham attempt to move the ball up through midfield and Ruiz's short pass to Hughes is intercepted by Di Santo, who works a shot at goal but Schwarzer saves.
Rodallega is isolated up front but attempts a shot, which is blocked, and Wigan look to build another attack with a series of short passes.
Riether demonstrates impressive commitment to chase a loose ball on the right flank and swing in a speculative cross, which Maynor Figueroa fails to deal with. The ball floats along the six-yard box but neither Ruiz nor Berbatov expected the chance, which goes wasted.
Hangeland heads clear before the ball breaks for Rodallega, who is alone as he advances down the left flank and ends up giving the ball back to Wigan.
Beausejour's corner is cleared at the near post but Wigan quickly regain the ball after the clearance and the pressure they are exerting on the home side is relentless.
Fulham have been uninspiring in the second half, lacking enthusiasm in attack as Wigan have committed more men forward, and it looks like Wigan will create more opportunites as the game goes on. The match's progress shows the Cottagers' need for reinforcements in centre-midfield, with 35-year-old Karagounis and converted-forward Bryan Ruiz lacking the energy to force Wigan back.
Jordi Gomez's corner from the right flank is cleared at the near post, but the Latics continue to attack as they maintain the pressure on the home side.
Assist Shaun Maloney
Goal Franco Di Santo
Josh Clarke at Craven Cottage: "Wigan have been pushing for the equaliser and it finally comes in the shape of a Franco Di Santo stunner. The free kick is taken quickly towards the the Argentine who cuts in from the right before firing a rasping drive beyond Mark Schwarzer. The visitors are in the ascendancy here, it will be a tough 20 minutes for Martin Jol's side."
Wigan break quickly after an unenthusiastic Fulham attack breaks down and win a free kick in the centre circle.
Berbatov controls the ball on the left flank and crosses with the outside of his foot for Rodallega, but the Columbian is unable to reach the ball under pressure from his marker.
Attacking midfielder Jordi Gomez comes on for David Jones as Roberto Martinez searches for an equaliser, with James McCarthy dropping back into his regular place in central midfield.
Columbia international Hugo Rodallega, who moved to Fulham from Wigan this summer, appears in place of Mladen Petric. Rodallega will bring the energy and pace the Cottagers have been lacking in recent minutes in place of the Croatian who has fired a number of his shots badly wide after returning from injury.
The referee awards a foul after Beausejour attempts to tackle Damien Duff on the right flank, but Fulham quickly give the ball away following the free kick. The Cottagers have lost their momentum going forward and it is Wigan who are applying more pressure at the moment.
Di Santo shoots narrowly wide! The Argentine receives the ball on the edge of the box, flicks the ball up and fires a powerful shot wide of the bottom left corner of the goal with a shot that has Schwarzer diving helplessly in an attempt to reach the ball.
Petric wins a free kick on the edge of the box after his attempt to run on to his header beyond Ivan Ramis is blocked by the defender. Petric takes the shot with his left foot and fires wide again.
Josh Clarke at Craven Cottage: "Renewed initiative from Wigan after the break with the visiting side on the front foot against Fulham. Mark Schwarzer did well to tip Shaun Maloney's deflected effort onto the bar though with the Latics now commiting men forward they look suspectible on the break."
Ruiz floats his delivery into the box from a free kick on the left flank, and Berbatov looks to shoot as the ball drops in front of him but the loose ball is cleared.
The goalkeeper is less convincing from the resulting corner from the right flank, but Fulham manage to clear although this results only in another delivery from the left flank. The corner is taken short and worked to Shaun Maloney outside the box, but his firm shot is saved.
Mark Schwarzer makes an excellent save to tip Shaun Maloney's effort onto the bar! The Scotland international turned neatly after receiving the ball outside the box, and feigned to his right before shifting the ball onto his left foot and arrowing an effort towards the top right corner before the Australia international tipped his effort away from goal.
Ruiz delivers the ball into the box from a free kick outside the left edge of the box, and Wigan clear towards Di Santo, but the Argentine is unable to find support among his teammates.
Berbatov finds Kacaniklic on the left flank but the Sweden international's cross evades Petric, his only teammate inside the box.
Beausejour takes the free kick but his outswinging effort is cleared and Fulham look to keep the ball in the aftermath.
Kacaniklic looks to exchange passes with Berbatov on the edge of the box but the Bulgarian slips and allows Wigan to counter. The Latics win a free kick near the left corner flag.
Petric impressively receives the ball from Hughes in the centre circle before spreading play to the left flank, allowing Fulham to advance up the pitch. After a right wing cross is blocked the Cottagers retain the ball as they maintain pressure in the opening minutes of the second half.
Wigan get the second half underway at Craven Cottage.
Josh Clarke at Craven Cottage: "Though it's hardly been a vintage Fulham performance so far, it's difficult to see how Wigan are going to level things at Craven Cottage. All too often the visitor's forays forward are let down by misplaced passes or misunderstandings, while Roberto Martinez will surely be encouraging his side to commit more men forward, with Franco Di Santo making little headway against an authoritative Brede Hangeland. In Giorgos Karagounis and Bryan Ruiz, the Cottagers have a central midfield combination that is controlling the game through their more composed use of possession, but each side has so far mustered little going forwards save the Greece international's excellent strike."
Fulham go into the break 1-0 up after an excellent strike from Giorgos Karagounis mid-way through the half, but after a bright opening from each side followed the starting whistle each side began to lack quality as the half went on. Franco Di Santo missed a chance after good work on the right flank from Emmerson Boyce, but although the Cottagers have looked hesitant in defence the Latics have so far lacked the quality needed to truly threaten an equaliser. It will be interesting to see if Roberto Martinez chooses to make any substitutions.
45' + 1'
Karagounis attempts a risky pass across the back four but Aaron Hughes passes the ball back to Mark Schwarzer whose long kick forward brings the half-time whistle.
David Jones embarrassingly mis-hits his corner from the right flank and the poor delivery reflects a lack of momentum from either side as half time approaches.
Duff crosses from the right flank into Petric and a goal kick is given after Ramis challenges the striker. Neither side has managed to build moves of any great quality in the last few minutes despite the bright opening to the match.
Josh Clarke Live from Craven Cottage: "Franco Di Santo spurns an excellent chance to draw Wigan level against Fulham. To be fair to the Italian he probably didn't see the whipped delivery behind the burly frame of Brede Hangeland but nevertheless, he should have done much better than blaze over from just six yards out."
Emmerson Boyce drills a low cross into the box from near the right corner flag, but Di Santo is unable to get his shot on target as he slides between defenders to get his foot to the ball.
Fulham play the ball forward quickly to Petric, but he is unable to find any of his teammates with his header.
Wigan get numbers forward as the ball finds its way to Di Santo after an attack down the left flank. The Argentine holds the ball up before laying-off to Beausejour, whose cross narrowly evades his teammates. The Cottagers' defence looked shaky but and if Roberto Martinez' side could be more incisive in the final third they could be rewarded.
Richardson disappointingly hits the ball well over the bar.
Yellow Card James McArthur
Riether breaks quickly down the right flank and passes to Petric, who elegantly flicks the ball into the path of Ruiz before the Costa Rica international is fouled by McArthur who receives a yellow card.
Karagounis delivers the ball in from the left flank and the ball is headed away for Kacaniklic to attempt a half-volley from outside the box, but his effort flies over the bar.
Riether wins a free-kick from Ivan Ramis next to the right corner flag, and Bryan Ruiz' delivery is headed out at the near post for a corner.
Richardson impressively goes past James McCarthy on the left flank and looks to slide a through-pass up the line to Petric, but the Croatian is offside.
That strike followed the Euro 2004-winner's stunning equaliser against Blackpool in the FA Cup. Wigan briefly looked shaken up by his opening goal but appear now to have regained their composure.
Yellow Card Georgios Karagounis
Fulham attack quickly after the restart, and Kacaniklic appeals for a handball inside the box after his cross is blocked.
Assist Sascha Riether
Goal Georgios Karagounis
Giorgos Karagounis puts Fulham in front with an excellent strike from the edge of the box! Right-back Sascha Riether looked back to the Greece international having advanced up the flank, and the 35-year-old took the ball in his stride before advancing towards the Wigan defence, dropping his shoulder to beat James McArthur, working the ball onto his right foot and making space to shoot from the edge of the box before his precise shot nestled perfectly in the bottom left corner.
Alex Kacaniklic receives the ball high up on the left flank from Petric and looks to find the Croatian striker with a cross in return, but the Wigan defence clear as Berbatov looks on in frustration having moved to the edge of the box waiting for a pull-back.
Di Santo takes advantage of hesitation by Aaron Hughes to pick up the ball by the left byeline, but his cross is caught comfortably by Mark Schwarzer.
Ruiz looks to roll a through-ball into Petric from the edge of the box, but the two are not on the same wavelength and the move breaks down.
Good work from Maloney to hold the ball up enables Wigan to launch a counter-attack down the left flank, and Jean Beausejour advances down the wing before attempting to find Di Santo, but the Argentine loses control of the ball and Fulham regain possession.
Petric receives the ball in space on the edge of the box and opts to shoot when the defence back off. He opts for power but blasts his shot over the bar in a disappointing effort.
Josh Clarke at Craven Cottage: "A tense opening here at Craven Cottage with neither Fulham or Wigan settling into a steady pattern. The home side's one foray into the box saw Dimitar Berbatov, after timing his run well, surprisingly miscontrol a dinked Bryan Ruiz clip over the top. Otherwise, little to report."
Fulham intercept the ball in the middle of the park and Bryan Ruiz curves a neat pass to Richardson on the left flank who crosses the ball for the Latics to clear. The ball falls to Ruiz who finds Berbatov with a lofted through-ball in an impressive display of understanding, but the Bulgarian cannot trap the pass and Ali Al-Habsi claims the ball.
Petric blasts the ball over the bar and Wigan attack confidently on receiving the ball. It looks like an exciting game so far.
It's been a bright start from both sides and the referee has a decision to make when Maloney fouls Karagounis on the edge of the box. He awards a free-kick on the right edge of the box and Mladen Petric stands over the ball.
James McArthur shoots over from well outside the box.
Wigan put together an excellent exchange on the right edge of the box and Di Santo fails to get a clean strike on an excellent opportunity when Shaun Maloney rolls the ball across the six-yard box towards the Argentine at the back post. The striker is called offside and it would not have counted in any case, but the decision does not appear correct on replay.
Bryan Ruiz receives the ball in midfield and side-steps his marker but his pass to Mladen Petric up front is intercepted, allowing Wigan to regain control of the ball.
Franco Di Santo fouls Giorgos Karagounis in the centre circle and after a brief exchange of passes Brede Hangeland looks for Damien Duff with a long ball in behind the Wigan defence, but the winger is offside.
Fulham kick-off at Craven Cottage!
The two sides leave the tunnel at Craven Cottage and we're just minutes away from kick-off.
Josh Clarke at Craven Cottage: "Fulham's home form hasn't been particularly impressive this term but Martin Jol may find solace in the fact that the Latics have failed to beat the west London club in their last 12 attempts, with five of the last six ending in a win for the Cottagers. However, in a game with a penchant for late goals - in the last four Premier League clashes there have been goals in the 85th minute or after - Robert Martinez will hope that his side are capable of snatching a late and significant goal."
Aroune Kone has left for the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast, so Shaun Maloney and Franco Di Santo start up top for the visitors as David Jones comes into midfield in place of the Ivorian striker. Promising loanee Angelo Henriquez is named on the bench after an impressive cameo against Bournemouth. Newly-signed Roger Espinoza is left out of the squad as he works his way up to full fitness.
Martin Jol welcomes back a host of experienced names as Mark Schwarzer returns in goal and winger Damien Duff and striker Mladen Petric are named in the starting line-up, while John Arne Riise is named among the substitutes as Kieran Richardson starts at left-back. Bryan Ruiz looks to be handed a role in midfield after Steve Sidwell is ruled out with a hamstring injury, as Petric partners Dimitar Berbatov up front.
Wigan: Al Habsi; Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa; Boyce, McArthur, Jones, Beausejour; McCarthy, Di Santo, Maloney. Subs: Pollitt, Gomez, McManaman, Henriquez, Boselli, Stam, Golobart
Fulham: Schwarzer; Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Richardson; Kacaniklic, Karagounis, Ruiz, Duff; Berbatov, Petric. Subs: Stockdale, Riise, Senderos, Baird, Kasami, Rodellega, Dejagah.
Josh Clarke at Craven Cottage: "The disappointing draws registered against lower league opposition in the FA Cup third round say a lot about the current plight of Fulham and Wigan. Martin Jol and Roberto Martinez would have looked to the home ties against Blackpool and Bournemouth as potential catalysts for an upturn in fortunes, yet both needed late equalisers to save face. Nevertheless, Premier League survival needs to remain the firm priority of both. The Cottagers have slumped dramatically, winning just 2 of their last 14 outings, while their visitors find themselves in the relegation zone having been spanked 4-0 at the DW by Manchester United last time out."
Hi and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage as Fulham face Wigan at Craven Cottage. I'm @arthurvirgo here to talk through the events, and you can get involved on Twitter @GoalUK
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