Fulham 2-0 Wigan: Tom Cairney stunner seals points for Scott Parker’s side to end five-match winless streak
- Joe Bryan opened the scoring for Fulham with his strike on 47 minutes
- Bryan’s goal was a deserved reward for a dominant Fulham performance
- Fulham’s win sees them move up to seventh place in the Championship
After five weeks and five games of frustration, here was the welcome return of that winning feeling for Fulham.
Their last taste of victory had come against Millwall back on August 21, with a sequence of just three points from 12 in the Championship and a Carabao Cup exit dampening early season optimism.
And while battling Wigan ensured this was far from Fulham’s prettiest performance, this win could well restore some momentum to their promotion bid.
Tom Cairney scored a wonderful second half goal to seal an impressive 2-0 win over Wigan
Cairney celebrates Fulham’s second in front of the home fans by sinking to his knees
Joe Bryan opened the scoring for Fulham on 47 minutes to set Cottagers on way to victory
MATCH FACTS AND LEAGUE TABLE
Fulham: Bettinelli, Sessegnon, Mawson, Ream, Bryan, Johansen (Arter 80), Reed, Knockaert (Onomah 87), Cairney, Ivan Cavaleiro (Reid 69), Mitrovic
Subs not used: Odoi, Rodak, Le Marchand, Kamara
Goalscorers: Bryan 47, Cairney 83
Booked: Reed, Mitrovic
Wigan: Marshall, Byrne, Dunkley, Mulgrew, Robinson, Evans, Morsy, Jacobs (Naismith 45), Williams, Lowe (Gelhardt 74), Moore (Garner 69)
Subs not used: Macleod, Fox, Massey, Jones
Booked: Dunkley, Williams, Morsy
Referee: Dean Whitestone
- Premier League
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Ligue 1
- Serie A
- La Liga
After all, they’re only three points off the top despite their barren run.
It had been almost exactly a year since Joe Bryan’s last Fulham goal but the left-back picked his moment to reward their control of this contest.
And Tom Cairney’s sumptuous late second gave the scoreline the complexion it deserved, the Fulham skipped picking out the top corner from 20 yards after Anthony Knockaert’s run and pass. .
The first-half followed that familiar Fulham pattern. They dominated the ball, death by passing with up to 70 per cent of possession, slowly chipping away at a well-organised Wigan defensive line.
At first, the hosts got bogged down, Cairney, Knockaert and their other creative forces stifled by an effective Wigan press. But, as time wore on, they did grind away and begin to create chances.
The Latics had threatened in the third minute when Nathan Byrne was left criminally unmarked at the back of the Fulham box only for his low shot to lack the power to beat Marcus Bettinelli.
Thereafter it was one-way traffic with the average positions of the Fulham players inching ever further forwards.
Fulham enjoyed 70 per cent of possession in the first half as they slowly wore Wigan down
Aleksandar Mitrovic squandered several good opportunities he would normally have buried
Alfie Mawson flicked wide from Bryan’s short corner before Harrison Reed fired straight at Wigan keeper David Marshall from 30 yards.
Such relentless possession left Wigan hemmed in and having been fitful at first, Fulham found their fluency in the final 10 minutes of the half.
Stefan Johansen sent in a ball from the right that Aleksandar Mitrovic hooked towards goal but Marshall was equal to it.
Cairney then slipped the perfect through ball into Knockaert inside the box and the Frenchman really should have hit it first time. Instead, he took two touches and Marshall spread himself to block with his chest.
The best chance of the half was the last one, the kind Mitrovic usually gobbles up. Knockaert swung in an excellent cross and the Serb lifted it over the top from 10 yards.
Clearly Scott Parker reiterated in his half-time address that continued pressure would yield rewards and so it proved just two minutes into the second-half.
Fulham boss Scott Parker was a relieved man after his side ended a five-match winless streak
Chey Dunkley fouled Cairney and was booked, the resulting free-kick lifted into a crowded area by Knockaert. It was Dunkley who initially headed clear and then blocked Bryan’s first attempt.
But the ball pinged straight back to Bryan, whose follow-up found a path through the throng to break the deadlock.
Wigan had little choice but to commit forward and nearly equalised when Lee Evans’ first-time strike from 25 yards brushed the roof of the net.
Dunkley then barged into Bettinelli from a corner, flooring the Fulham keeper and prompting a reaction from Reed, who shoved Dunkley over and was booked.
Normal service was swiftly resumed, with Marshall parrying away a fierce Knockaert drive after a characteristically mazy run.
And it was another Knockaert burst that provided the ammunition for Cairney’s classy second to seal it.