Wigan battle back for draw

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:31

Wigan battle back for draw

Former Latics defender Caldwell, the surprise choice to replace the axed Malky Mackay as manager earlier this week, has inherited a team stuck in the Sky Bet Championship bottom three and looking doomed to relegation.
The 32-year-old Scot must have feared the worst when he saw his side concede after just three minutes at Craven Cottage thanks to Ross McCormack’s strike.
A stylish Jermaine Pennant free-kick hauled Wigan level, but a stunning long-range effort from Matt Smith put Fulham back in front before Jason Pearce’s second-half effort earned the Latics a point.
It lifted them above Millwall on goal difference but things still look bleak for the 2013 FA Cup winners, who are seven points from safety with only four matches remaining.
Fulham should sleep a little easier, however, after another point edged them a step closer to ensuring they avoid the ignominy of back-to-back relegations.
They went ahead with their first attack as Wigan’s defence simply stood off McCormack on the edge of the area, allowing the striker to shift the ball onto his right foot and unleash a superb curler past Scott Carson.
But the visitors did not let their heads drop and got a break in the 22nd minute when Scott Parker clumsily fouled James McClean on the edge of the area.
Former Liverpool winger Pennant, recalled to the starting line-up by Caldwell, stepped up to curl the free-kick inside Marcus Bettinelli’s near post for his third goal since joining the Latics in February.
Emerson Boyce ensured the scores remained level with a last-ditch challenge as McCormack was about to pull the trigger 15 yards out, and Smith headed a decent opportunity wide.
But Smith fired Fulham back into the lead 10 minutes before half-time, collecting Ryan Tunnicliffe’s through-ball, turning and crashing a spectacular, dipping shot over Carson and into the net.
Dan Burn headed wide for the hosts early in the second half, but they were pegged back again in the 69th minute when Harry Maguire flicked on Pennant’s corner and Pearce finished at the far post.
But it was Fulham who came closest to snatching a winner with substitute Cauley Woodrow heading McCormack’s cross over and Carson saving from both Parker and Woodrow to ensure the points were shared.

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