Wigan agony at Fulham

Philippe Senderos broke Wigan hearts with a last-gasp winner in Fulham’s 2-1 Premier League victory at Craven Cottage.

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After a goalless first half the game sprang into life in the second period with two goals within two minutes. Emmerson Boyce opened the scoring for Wigan with a powerful drive into the far corner on 57 minutes. Within 71 seconds, Fulham were level. Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak marked his return from injury by firing past Ali Al Habsi through a crowd of Wigan defenders. Martin Jol’s side pushed for the winner but it looked like Wigan had earned another vital point in the capital until Senderos headed home Damien Duff’s cross with just a minute to go. The result leaves Wigan in 16th position, still precariously perched above the relegation zone. After a heroic victory over Arsenal at the Emirates on Monday, Roberto Martinez was hopeful of securing more points from another trip to the capital. But in Fulham he came up against a side who had lost just one of their last eight games at home. The visitors were almost off to an atrocious start as Gary Caldwell brought down Clint Dempsey in the Wigan penalty area in the first minute. Despite the American’s protests referee Lee Mason saw nothing wrong with the challenge. Fulham shook off their disappointment to have the best of a fairly uneventful first half. With Wigan content to give the home side possession, Fulham had plenty of the play. Dempsey looked the most likely, several times stretching the Wigan back line but failing to create any clear-cut chances. The second half looked to be following the same pattern until a loose ball broke to Boyce. The defender showed a striker’s composure as he slammed his shot past Mark Schwarzer and put Wigan into a surprise lead. The goal gave Fulham the urgency they had lacked in the first half and from the kick-off Pogrebnyak found himself on the edge of the Wigan box. Holding off the attentions of several Wigan defenders he wrong-footed Al Habsi with his shot from the edge of the box. Not content with a draw, the home side pushed on with Pogrebnyak at the heart of everything. On 64 minutes he almost had his second as his shot from John Arne Riise’s cross struck the underside of the bar before bouncing out. Fourteen minutes later he should have done better when Dempsey’s shot rebounded into his path. Fulham brought on Kerim Frei to inject some pace into their attack but Wigan seemed to have ridden the storm. That was until Duff stepped up to send a free kick from the left over the heads of the Fulham defenders and on to that of Senderos, whose finish nestled in the bottom corner. The result leaves Roberto Martinez’s Wigan with plenty to do in order to avoid the drop while Fulham’s late dash for a Europa League spot gathers momentum. 

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