Boycey opener cancelled out by Dempsey pen
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Dempsey 38 (pen),
Report by Paul Chialton
Two first-half goals were all it took to separate the two sides on a bitterly cold night at the DW Stadium.
Emmerson Boyce scored his second goal of the season early on to put Roberto Martinez's men into the lead. The centre-half latching onto Paul Scharner's knock-down to control and fire home confidently into the bottom corner.
The goal brought the ground to life and put a spark into the home side. Charles N'Zogbia came agonisingly close moments later striking a vicious shot from 30-yardsonly for Mark Schwarzer pull off a fantastic save and tip onto the bar.
With the crowd bouncing and the home side in control, it was Clint Dempsey, Fulham's talisman who brought his side back into the game, swivelling in the area and being brought down by Titus Bramble.
The US international stepped up and fired down the middle to equalise.
And although the visitors started to grow in confidence, it was Latics who had the edge and looked like the team who would grab the win.
Where it not for a goalkeeper in form they probably would have. Schwarzer began to pull off save after save to keep his side in the game, and he'll be receiving a few pats on the back from his team-mates tonight.
N'Zogbia had a great opportunity, with a mazy run that got him into the area, but his shot was palmed wide in what looked to be a certain goal.
Then it was the turn of Hendry Thomas connecting with a bullet-header from Hugo Rodallega's corner six-yards out which he saw tipped over by the Australian.
Overall a game that was there for the taking for Latics, and Martinez will be encouraged by the positive approach play up-front going into next week's international-break.
Latics: Kirkland; Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Edman (Sinclair, 78); Thomas, Diame; N'Zogbia, Scharner, Rodallega; Scotland (Koumas, 90)
Subs: Pollitt, Amaya, Cho, Gomez, de Ridder
Fulham: Schwarzer; Konchesky, Pantsil, Hangeland, Baird; Nevland (Gera, 85) Duff, Hughes, Dempsey, Zamora, Greening (Etuhu, 79)
Subs: Zuberbuhler, Kelly, Riise, Smalling, Dikgacoi