Lactlustre Lactic's Easter gift of three points
Craven Cottage, London
At Easter its traditional to give presents usually chocolate eggs however, Wigan's defence espically Scharner and Bramble put a new slant on the giving today, by gifting three points to Fulham with two horrendous mistakes which led directly to both goals.
Wigan's line up today saw a recall for Jason Scotland for the injured Hendry Thomas with Paul Scharner resuming his centre half pairing with Titus Bamble for the suspended Gary Caldwell and a return on the wing for Charles N'Zogbia.
Latics started brightly but too often through lack of leadership, the final pass was gift wrapped to Fulham. Wigan seemed content to play the game at a slow pace which played into the hands of a jaded Fulham team whose European journey started last July.
Not unsurprisingly N'Zogbia looked Wigan's most dangerous outlet but saw the ball only rarely today and when he did break the line he was unfairly ruled offside.
Rodallega was once again playing on the right wing and with little support from the totally ineffectual Moreno , he resorted to long range shots which were comfortably dealt with by Schwarzer in the Fulham goal.
Latics looked shaky at best at the back with Scharner espically at his eccentric worse.
These two teams traditionally feature in low scoring games and when the initial goal came it was a surprise in the fact that it was the Latics first goal away from home in four matches and only their seventh goal in the last thirteen games home or away.
What was even more surprising was the goal scorer , ending a drought that has lasted all season of over 1,400 minutes...Jason Scotland.
A cross from the right by N'Zogbia was chested back to Scotland by Moreno and the stocky Trinidadian bulldozed a shot through a crowded penalty area and was allowed into the net by a fumble by the home keeper.
Latics remained relatively untroubled for the rest of the first half and Fulham who had three penalty claims correctly turned down trooped off the field to a chorus of boos.
Whatever Roy Hodgson said at half time he could not have expected such an excellent start to the second half. Fulham kicked off and when the ball rolled towards the corner flag, it appeared all Scharner had to do was boot the ball into touch. The big Austrian had other ideas and tried to slip the ball past Gera, he didn't and Gera passed the ball towards the goal where Okaka beat Kirkland and Bramble tot he ball for an well taken equiliser.
Once again Latics had contributed to conceeding goals with elemnetary and naive errors from 'professional players'.
Latics responded positively with Diame driving them forward but all too often the ball went backwards as there was no one to pass to in the penalty area allowing Fulham to re-group. Once again Rodallega had to resort to shooting from distance with Moreno's only shoot almost clearing the roof of the stadium.
Fulham took the lead from poor defending at a set piece, a fault that has troubled Latics all season. A corner was fired in and Hangeland pulled away goalside from Bramble who was attempting to mark him and headed in off an unmarked post to take the lead.
From that moment onwards Latics were a ragged excuse for a team , with individuals pushing forward but with no leadership or pattern of play , all their efforts were easily dealt with by Fulham.
Indeed it could have been worse, with Scharner lucky to escape a second yellow for a clumsy takcle and Bramble lucky to escape a straight red for a tackle in the area which was ruled by the referee as fair but which was clearly a foul.
The final whistle brought to an end another incipient performnce from the Latics who in terms of cohesion seem no further forward than August of last season.
The result leaves Latics still very much in the relegation mire and much better performances are needed if they are goign to escape the drop.
Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.