Boyce's blistering strike not enough for Latics
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Report by Nick Taylor
Emmerson Boyce had his goal scoring boots on at Craven Cottage when he lashed in a pile driver from outside of the area but Fulham had enough to respond straight away through Pavel Pogrebnyak and a late Philippe Senderos header.
The Swiss defender broke a vocal Latics following's hearts on 89 minutes as it looked like the away side were edging out a vital point in the fight to stay in the Barclays Premier League.
Roberto Martinez remained confident in the same team that beat Arsenal 2-1 on Monday and had the luxury of Shaun Maloney returning to the bench.
The opening stages of the game brought about an end-to-end style of football but lacked the quality in both final thirds as neither teams could create a genuine chance on target.
The first of the game ended up coming to Latics when Victor Moses was up to his usual tricks as he cut inside from the left wing and attempted to bend the ball into the top corner with his right foot.
Mark Schwarzer was equal to it and left the winger with his head in his hands.
It took a while for the first guilt-edge Fulham chance but Clint Dempsey and John Arne Riise looked threatening down the Cottagers' left side.
On 29 minutes Dempsey put it on a plate for Fulham as he beat Boyce with trickery and slipped a low ball across Ali Al Habsi's goal.
Nobody wanted to convert and Fulham didn't even have another man inside the area which left Jean Beausejour to clear.
Dempsey was at it again just minutes later on the same flank but this time Al Habsi launched himself at the ball and held on well before any more danger rose.
Latics ended the half with a flurry when Jordi Gomez tested Schwarzer from just inside the edge of the area.
The Spaniard controlled a cross field ball from Moses with the outside of his foot and then turned on the spot to drive it low towards the front post.
After half time Latics came out looking much more lively and it only took up to 57 minutes for them to take the lead.
It was in spectacular style from an unexpected source as Boyce found himself linking up well and creating space with Moses.
The Barbados international gambled and it paid off with great consequence as his right footed drive flew at pace into the bottom corner, leaving the keeper with no chance.
Latics fans were still celebrating when Fulham struck back just a minute later.
Fulham's Russian hitman was given too much space on the edge of the area as Fulham worked the ball forward and he simply turned to goal and fired the ball passed an on-looking Al Habsi.
From then on in, Fulham had the bit between their teeth.
It was Pogrebnyak againwho hit the cross bar with an open goal to aim at but, the ball came back down off the bar to hit the goal-line.
He was at it again shortly after when he found space in the box from a Riise cross but this time the post prevented him from celebrating when he couldn't connect properly with the ball despite an open goal beckoning.
Fulham finally broke Latics down with just one minute of normal time to play.
Boyce conceded a free kick wide right of Latics' area, leaving Riise to whip a dangerous cross into the box.
It was the ex-Arsenal defender Senderos who leaped the highest as he slammed his header into the back of the net.
Latics pushed to equalise but to no avail as Fulham maintained possession and frustrated their visitors.
The defeat leaves Latics three points clear of the relegation zone.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Hughes, Hangeland, Senderos, Riise, Dempsey, Diarra, Murphy (Frei 81), Duff, Dembele, Pogrebnyak
Unused Subs: Stockdale, Baird, Briggs,Kasami, Etuhu, Johnson
Wigan Athletic: Al Habsi, Boyce, Alcaraz, Caldwell (c), Figueroa, Beausejour, McArthur (Watson 75), McCarthy, Gomez (Maloney 55), Moses, Di Santo (Sammon 33)
Unused Subs: Pollitt, Gohouri, Jones, Diame