Clint Dempsey brought Fulham level towards the end of a lively first half at the DW Stadium.

In the absence of Danny Murphy, Andy Johnson and Diomansy Kamara, Dempsey stepped up to a covert a penalty after he himself had been fouled by Titus Bramble. The American’s third league goal in as many games cancelled out a 14th minute header from Emmerson Boyce. Fulham failed to clear a corner and Erik Edman’s cross was headed back across goal by Paul Scharner for Boyce, alarmingly free of any pressure, to power a header past Mark Schwarzer.

The goal seemed to galvanise Wigan, who nearly doubled their lead moments later. Former Newcastle midfielder Charles N’Zogbia hit a dipping left-footed shot towards goal, which was brilliantly saved by Schwarzer, as the Australian goalkeeper turned the ball onto the bar.

Fulham had started brightly with Erik Nevland, sent off in Rome on Thursday, unlucky not to score after heading an against the inside of the post after being played in by Bobby Zamora.