New Wigan manager Gary Caldwell’s first ever line up played with passion and skill with a performance that was dominant in terms of possession and skill over a Fulham side seeking the three points to secure their own Championship survival.
Wigan made two changes from the line up against Derby with Carson replacing Al Habsi in goal and Pennant returning in place of Clarke.
Within four minutes of the kick off, Caldwell was given a warm welcome to front line management as his new charges fell behind to a long range shot from Fulham’sstar striker Ross McCormack, a player who cost more than Latics whole strike force combined and whose goal tally for this season is again more than WIgan’s strike force combined.
McCormack showed the value of this investment when a half cleared through ball fell to the Scotsman on the edge of the area and his long range shot curved away from Carson into the Wigan net.
Wigan didn’t let their eads drop however and with a more measured passing game than has been seen of late saw the Latics gradually take control of the game but as has been a major failing all season this didn’t result in clear cut chances on goal.
This changed after a quarter of the game when free kick specialist Jermaine Pennant equalised with a free kick, following a foul by Parker on McClean which leftBettinelli in the Fulham goal grasping at thin air. Pennant showed the team spirit engendered by Caldwell by racing down to the other end of the pitch to celebrate in front of the noisy Latics away following.
Wigan continued to dominate possession but all their good work was undone by a wonder goal from Smith whose audacious chip from outside the area left Carson floundering.
Wigan continued to play with belief and confidence with a passing game that was effective as well as pleasing on the eye. Their endeavours were rewarded when Pennant broke down the right and won a corner. He took the corner which was met by Maguire the ball spun across in front of the goal to be met by the extended leg of Pearce whose shot found the back of the net for a well deserved equaliser.
Both sides pushed forwards in search of the winning goal , for Fulham a Burn header went narrowly over the bar whilst for Wigan that man again Pennant saw a goal bound header cleared by Burn.
The full time whistle saw the Latics players subject to well deserved loud applause from the travelling faithful but left the pitch knowing that the hard earned point may not be enough to keep the team in the Championship.
Team Line Up
Carson, Boyce(McCann ), Maguire, Pearce, Bong,Pennant (Murphy), Perch(c), Kim, Kvist, McClean, Fortune (Waghorn).
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