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Page last updated at 21:43 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Fulham 2-0 Wigan

By Julian Taylor

Andrew Johnson nets his first Fulham goal at Craven Cottage
Andrew Johnson nets his first Fulham goal at Craven Cottage

Andrew Johnson hit a double as Fulham earned their first win in six games against fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic at Craven Cottage.

Johnson slotted home his first goal for the club in the 10th minute from close range from Paul Konchesky's cross.

Wigan revived briefly, and Paul Scharner should have levelled for the Latics with a simple two-yard header.

Zoltan Gera hit the post for Fulham but Johnson finished neatly on 59 minutes from a Jimmy Bullard free-kick.

Both sides had not won a game in October, but the victory is a significant boost for Roy Hodgson's men as they seek to move up the Premier League table.

Hodgson delighted with win

Fulham were unchanged after their 1-1 draw against Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Sunday.

Wigan boss Steve Bruce, meanwhile, dropped defender Titus Bramble to the bench after their 4-0 drubbing at home to Aston Villa.

After some scrappy early exchanges, Johnson emerged to put the Cottagers ahead following a well-worked move.

Bobby Zamora found Konchesky powering forward on the left flank and the defender's low inviting cross was turned in from close range by 10m signing Johnson, although there was a heavy suspicion of offside.

Johnson was unlucky not to grab a second when Gera did well to stretch past Emmerson Boyce and sweep the ball into the danger zone, only for the ball to break clear.

However, Wigan eventually responded, and on-loan Honduran Maynor Figueroa powered a left-foot shot a yard past the post from 25 yards, a sign that the visitors were edging into the contest.

Second best all night - Bruce

Amr Zaki then threatened the west Londoners with a raging run on the left, and his deep cross was headed agonisingly just over the crossbar by Paul Scharner.

It was a frustrating miss by the Austrian midfielder with Fulham holding out until the break.

Gera was unlucky in the 48th minute but he clipped the post from the edge of the six yard after a loose ball fell into his path.

Johnson, though, showed his predatory instincts were fully intact when he added the second for the west Londoners.

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The busy Bullard threaded a quick free-kick taking Wigan by surprise, with ex-Everton player Johnson doing well to escape Scharner's attention to slide the ball into the net under Chris Kirkland.

Wigan failed to carve out any real chances as the second half wore on with the Cottagers keeping a grip on the game.

Johnson received a deserved standing ovation from the home fans near the end when he was replaced by Erik Nevland.

But the defeat now gives Bruce more cause for concern with a tricky trip to Portsmouth to follow.


Fulham manager Roy Hodgson:

"I am quite happy now with 11 points from nine games at this stage of the season.

"It was a very important victory in what is going to be a tough season - I thought we created more chances and deserved to win.

"I felt Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora were a constant threat and hopefully they will continue to work well together.

"Now I hope we can take this kind of form into our next game against Everton."

Wigan Athletic boss Steve Bruce:

"At this level we simply have to defend better - the second goal we conceded was like something you see on a Sunday morning.

"We need to go back to basics as we made glaring mistakes all over the place.

"The last 20 minutes of the first-half was our best spell of the game and Paul Schwarzer was unlucky not to score.

"We'll have to play much better when we go to Portsmouth if we're going to take anything."


Fulham: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Davies, Bullard (Baird 88), Murphy, Gera (Dempsey 72), Johnson (Nevland 90), Zamora.

Subs Not Used: Zuberbuhler, Gray, Stoor, Andreasen.

Goals: Johnson 11, 60.

Wigan: Kirkland, Boyce, Scharner, Figueroa (Koumas 62), Palacios (Camara 80), Cattermole (De Ridder 80), Kilbane, Melchiot, Valencia, Heskey, Zaki.

Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Taylor, Brown, Bramble.

Booked: Kilbane, Cattermole.

Att: 22,500

Ref: Howard Webb

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Fulham's Mark Schwarzer 7.70 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.



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