Lee Duxbury dealt Fulham’s push for automatic promotion from the Second Division a serious blow by scoring a late winner for Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park this afternoon.

Neil Warnock’s side rode their luck but claimed all three points through Duxbury’s delightful finish from the edge of the box after he lost his marker to guide Steve Redmond’s cross into the bottom corner past Maik Taylor. This defeat was Fulham’s first in nine league matches – and head coach Ray Wilkins, whilst still optimistic that his side can catch the top two, recognised that the quality of the visitors’ finishing was below par.

Million-pound man Paul Peschisolido was thwarted by three superb saves from Oldham goalkeeper Gary Kelly and the longer the game went on, the more the home side grew in confidence. Chris Coleman made two goal-line clearances to keep Fulham’s clean sheet intact but was helpless to prevent Duxbury’s winner eight minutes from time.

Wilkins said afterwards: “We had enough chances to win several games, but Paul had a bad day – there is no doubt he will score goals on another day. We can still grab an automatic promotion place. There are fifteen games left and there is no doubt we are capable of winning them all.”

OLDHAM ATHLETIC (4-3-3): Kelly; Graham, Garnett, Redmond, Thompson; Rickers, Duxbury, Reid; Jepson (Starbuck 51), Ritchie, Barlow. Subs (not used): Salt, Tipton.

GOAL: Duxbury (82).

FULHAM (4-4-2): Taylor; Lawrence, Brevett, Neilson, Coleman; Bracewell, W. Collins, Smith, Trollope; Moody (Hayward 3), Peschisolido. Subs (not used): Cullip, Carpenter.

REFEREE: Roger Furnandiz (Doncaster).