Henri Camara’s terrific late finish secured a rare away win for Wigan over Fulham at Craven Cottage this afternoon.
The Latics made light of Danny Landzaat’s second-half penalty miss to claim all three points when Camara capitalised on poor home defending to lash home the winner seven minutes from time. Fulham were left ruing their own approach as the success of Chris Coleman’s 4-5-1 system on the road of late didn’t translate to home comforts.
Paul Jewell’s side began brightly with the lively Camara sending an early chance over the bar before Brian McBride, who was left horribly isolated up front for most of the afternoon, was blocked by Arjan de Zeeuw. The American then opted to try and tee up Michael Brown from a corner when shooting for goal himself might have been the better option. Tomasz Radzinski did get on the end of a Zat Knight cross but headed disappointingly wide.
The visitors still posed a threat with Emile Heskey – a summer transfer target for Fulham – just failing to connect with Emmerson Boyce’s cross and Niemi doing well to keep out another Camara effort. Gary Teale was enjoying great success down the Wigan right, creating chances for Heskey and Landzaat in quick succession. At the other end, a fine run from Jensen carried him clear of three challengers but the Danish midfielder drove his shot just over before Radzinski’s deflected cross narrowly eluded McBride.
One of Moritz Volz’s surging runs from his new midfield role nearly put McBride in but the American’s shot was bravely blocked by de Zeeuw. Heskey nearly took advantage of a dreadful mistake by Liam Rosenior but Antti Niemi scrambled the ball clear – with television replays suggesting he was fortunate to not have the goal given. Coleman introduced Boa Morte, back after breaking his cheekbone at Tottenham, but the hosts should have gone behind when Knight was penalised for handling Camara’s shot off the line. Landzaat smashed the spot-kick against the bar, but Fulham’s reprieve only lasted eight mintues.
Knight, lucky to be on the pitch after only being booked for his handball, saw his clearance charged down by Kevin Kilbane and Camara raced away from Franck Queudrue to clinically fire home the winner. Substitute Lee McCulloch could have put the game beyond Fulham but Niemi made an excellent stop.
FULHAM (4-5-1): Niemi; Rosenior, Knight, Pearce, Queudrue; Volz (Routledge 53), Brown (Boa Morte 69), Bocanegra, C. Jensen, Radzinski, McBride. Subs (not used): Lastuvka, Helguson, John.
WIGAN ATHLETIC (4-4-2): Kirkland; Boyce, De Zeeuw, Webster (Jackson 65), Baines; Teale, Scharner, Landzaat (Johansson 77), Kilbane; Heskey (McCulloch 52), Camara. Subs (not used): Pollitt, Cotterill.
BOOKED: De Zeeuw, Scharner.
GOAL: Camara (83).
REFEREE: Graham Poll (Hertfordshire).