Wigan 0-2 Fulham

By Emlyn BegleyBBC Sport
Clint Dempsey scores the game's first goal
Clint Dempsey has now scored six goals against Wigan

Fulham secured an important but fortunate win over fellow Premier League strugglers Wigan Athletic.

The opener came from Clint Dempsey, who fired home from close range after being picked out by Bobby Zamora's ball across the box.

Wigan had the better chances and hit the woodwork through Victor Moses and Maynor Figueroa although Zamora also hit the crossbar.

And Moussa Dembele sealed the win late on from the edge of the box.

Wigan's eighth successive defeat leaves them bottom of the table and lifts Fulham, who ended a three-game losing streak, up to 15th.

Wigan hurting after loss - Roberto Martinez

Both sides looked nervous in the first 20 minutes, with the only moment of note coming when the hosts' Mohamed Diame had to be replaced with an ankle injury following a clumsy tackle by Steve Sidwell.

The two sides continued to misplace passes on a regular basis but it was Wigan who started to get on top and created the game's first chances.

Midfielder David Jones has not scored for the club since his summer switch from Wolves but he looked the most likely to break the deadlock, first having a shot from 20 yards held by Mark Schwarzer and then arriving late to fire wide from 12 yards out after meeting Emmerson Boyce's cross from the right wing.

Wigan's top scorer last season was Hugo Rodallega but the Columbian international had failed to score in seven games this season and never looked confident that he would end his goal drought, the 26-year-old failing to get on the end of crosses on more than one occasion when he should have made contact.

He did meet one Boyce centre but his spectacular scissor kick flew well over the bar.

Martin Jol praises Fulham defence

It looked a matter of time before Wigan would score as Ben Watson's dipping volley from just outside area was saved well by Schwarzer and, from the resulting Jones corner, Gary Caldwell headed over unmarked from six yards out.

But, entirely against the run of play, it was Fulham who took the lead.

After yet another Wigan attack, Cottagers keeper Schwarzer rolled the ball out to John Arne Riise, who picked out Danny Murphy. The veteran midfielder's long ball over the top found Zamora in acres of space down the left wing, and he picked out Dempsey, whose shot hit keeper Ali Al-Habsi but still went in.

Wigan kept pushing, Moses deflecting Watson's shot wide, then the striker turning provider for the midfielder, whose header missed the target.

The Latics' big chance came when Moses hit the angle of post and crossbar from outside the box after outmuscling Riise. Fulham also hit the woodwork through Zamora, who was again picked out by a 50-yard Murphy ball and his volley clipped the crossbar.

Wigan continued to press and Figueroa hit the post with a curling effort from 30 yards out but minutes later the defender gifted Sidwell the ball on the halfway line and he found Dembele, who charged forward and slotted home.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez:

"The stats tell the story. I'm not disappointed with the performance but with our run, the result becomes even more important.

"It is not time to feel sorry for ourselves. It's time to try to improve ourselves, try to change the negative dynamic that's affecting us at the moment.

"I felt we were going to be the next team to score but we were punished while chasing the game.

"Once we get our first positive result, everything will change."

Fulham boss Martin Jol:

"If you don't score you don't get the points. We deserved to win because over the season we should have picked up four or five more points.

"We changed it around and put Moussa Dembele in midfield. I thought Moussa deserved to score, he was terrific.

"He is so gifted. The next step is for him to score goals. He has all the talent in the world."

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