Fulham return to winning ways after seeing off stubborn Wigan
Tom Cairney’s superb long-range strike capped Fulham’s 2-0 home victory over Wigan which ended a run of five games in all competitions without a win for Scott Parker’s side.
Joe Bryan had fired the Cottagers ahead two minutes into the second half and Cairney’s outstanding effort from 25 yards seven minutes from time ensured there was no way back for the visitors.
The victory – that came after three successive 1-1 draws – moved the Cottagers up to seventh place in the Sky Bet Championship.
And for Wigan, defeat meant they extended a dismal away record that has seen them win just one of their last 26 league games on the road.
Parker’s side had been left frustrated after conceding an added time equaliser at Sheffield Wednesday last time out.
But they were facing a Wigan side boosted by a 2-0 victory over Charlton, their first win since the opening day of the season.
That result came on the back of successive draws, boosting hopes Paul Cook’s side had turned the corner.
But after a positive opening, it quickly became clear the visitors would face a testing evening as the home side settled to take control of the first half for long periods.
Yet while a succession of passing moves took Parker’s men towards the edge of the Wigan penalty area, they struggled to deliver the kind of final ball that would trouble the Latics defence.
Visiting goalkeeper David Marshall was finally tested in the 37th minute when Fulham Aleksandar Mitrovic volleyed goalwards from Steven Sessegnon.
Marshall dealt with that effort comfortably but he was presented with a much sterner test two minutes later when Anthony Knockaert fired in an angled shot from close range that the keeper did well to beat away.
It was clear Parker’s side would have to do more if they were to turn their dominance into goals.
And it took them just two minutes to find the cutting edge they had lacked in the first half to force the lead.
The chance came about after Wigan defender Chey Dunkley conceded a free-kick close to his own penalty area following a clumsy challenge on Cairney.
Knockaert’s set-piece was headed clear by Dunkley, but only as far as Bryan who drilled the ball past Marshall after seeing his first effort blocked.
Wigan could no longer afford to sit back and they almost conjured a response five minutes later when Lee Evans fired over from 25 yards.
Marshall again denied Knockaert as Fulham went in search of the second goal that would provide much-needed breathing space.
And that finally came when Cairney strode forward and sent a dipping shot beyond Marshall in the 83rd minute.