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Match Report: Fulham 1-1 Wigan Athletic

When you need points you don't pick a team you haven't beaten the past three seasons do you? Well Wigan had no choice as we played our true bogey team Fulham, and when you go to Craven Cottage, whoever you are you expect a tricky game, and that is what we got.

Ian Walton

With Arouna Kone missing, we saw David Jones slot into the midfield as Shaun Maloney was pushed up alongside Franco Di Santo up front. The Scottish international (Maloney) was to have a great game as he tried to help the team gain three points, instead we had to settle for one, yet on the game as a whole, it was a fair result.

The opening ten minutes, were controlled by Wigan as we settled quickly and confidently. The team was geared up for this one and you could see it. We wanted the ball more and were looking to drive forward as fast and as sharply as we could. James McArthur would have the first chance of the game. The midfielder working a couple of yards of space before unleashing a driving shot. Yet it sailed over the bar.

Yet Fulham were building into the game. Slowly but surely the home fans settled and so did Fulham's game. Wigan having to start to defend deeper and play our away game, staying tight with midfielders working hard of our back five. It worked well as Fulham were reduced to taking long shots outside the box.

Yet one of those long shots turned out to be a wonder strike. 35 year old Giorgos Karagounis dropped his shoulder and found a yard of space a smashed a shot onto the far post right into the bottom corner, the ball hit the post and bounced in. No chance for Ali Al Habsi, a wonder goal and nothing anyone could do about it.

Fulham were in the swing of it. Passing and moving yet the Wigan defence held resolute. Strong and solid we kept Fulham at bay slowly but surely that allowed us to get a stronger foot hold in the game. By the end of the game we were back on the front foot and could have gone equal. Franco Di Santo got on the held of a low Emmerson Boyce which whipped across the front of the goal. Yet the striker from six yards out managed to put the ball over the bar.

The half time whistle had come at the wrong time for Wigan. We were just getting back into the game, and the break had disrupted our tempo. After half time, it showed as Fulham came out on the attack looking for the second goal to kill the game. Lucky for Wigan, Dimitar Berbatov who looked the most likely to cause some damage was having and off day. Damien Duff was doing his best to create chances but it just was coming off for the attackers of Fulham.

The game swung back towards Wigan now. Franco Di Santo started to get involved in the game up front, and was holding the ball up well allowing Maloney to get on the ball and affect the game. A driving run by the attacking midfielder, a few step overs, before releasing a chipping swerving shot to the top corner of the goal. Mark Schwarzer had to be on his best to tip the ball of the goal.

The Australian would be on his best, making three more decent saves from our strikers.

Latics were getting further and further up the pitch. Di Santo and Maloney were causing the trouble as Boyce and Jean Beausejour supplied some width. Neither winger was adding much to the attack as we were getting most of our joy through the center of the Fulham defence.

The Di Santo would draw Latics level. A quick free kick taken by Wigan, Di Santo on the ball wide on the left. The striker cut in from the wing and got the 18 yard box before unleashing one hell of a strike to blast the ball past Schwarzer. That had been coming all day from the Argentinian.

Then you felt Wigan could take the lead. We were in control of the game and were having more of the possession. Take tells in terms of chances, yet we couldn't find the clear cut chances we want. But another great strike from Di Santo saw Schwarzer called into action again to pull of a save which in the end won Fulham a point.

At the other end it would take a Maynor Figueroa clearance of the line in added time to secure the points for Wigan. A quick counter down the Fulham left saw Latics exposed and open to an attack as they surged forward expecting a goal and nearly got one.

So a point, which is more than we have got in most games this season. But a point earned saw yet another defender limp off. Ivan Ramis was stretchered off after a clash with Dimitar Berbatov, the extend of the damage wasn't known at the time but didn't look good.