On a very cold night in West London, Latics just couldn’t find that spark to get themselves into this game and even though at times some good football was played, the final ball was dismal and ultimately the strikers found it very tough.
Latics actually had the first real chance of the game after Wilson Palacios turned ex-Latics favourite Jimmy Bullard 20 yards out. The Honduran International though spurned the opportunity and struck a stunning shot which was just wide of the post.
Maynor Figueroa had a similar chance later in the half when his long range effort drifted just wide of the upright and really that was all we could muster in the first half as we squandered possession in the middle of the park.
Fulham took the lead after just eleven minutes as Paul Konchesky’s cross found Andy Johnson wide open in the six yard box to score one of his easier goals in his career, Latics should have taken this as the blue touch paper, but alas more squandering ensued.
Latics’ best chance of the match came just before the break. Amr Zaki shook off his man and crossed to find the waiting Paul Scharner. The Austrian had lost his man and had the goal at his mercy but just couldn’t direct his header goalward.
Fulham doubled their lead on the hour. Jimmy Bullard played a telling ball through our defence which gave Johnson the opportunity to double his tally which he gladly took. The shot left Kirkland no chance as we went two down.
Emile Heskey had Latics best chance in second half but his speculative long range effort deflected to land comfortably in Mark Schwarzer’s hands. The rest of the second half saw us drag Fulham down to our level and the match was brought to an end with the score at 2-0.
Latics will have to show better form than this if we are to get away from this very tight bottom of the league. Hopefully this will act as the kick up the arse we need.
Report by Jason Taylor