Bryan Ruiz’s late penalty made sure Fulham got a share of the spoils after a dramatic afternoon at the DW Stadium that saw plenty of goals before both sides were reduced to ten men.
After Adam Forshaw had put the hosts in front from the penalty spot in the ninth minute after Kostas Stafylidis’ foul on Callum McManaman, the Whites turned the game on its head before the break when Lasse Vigen Christensen and Ruiz scored in quick succession.
Wigan drew level soon after the restart through Roger Espinoza and Fulham were reduced to 10 men when Ross McCormack was shown a second yellow card with 13 minutes left.
Substitute Shaun Maloney looked to have won it for Wigan late on but Fulham wouldn’t give in and when Hugo Rodallega burst clear, he was hauled down in the box by Leon Barnett who was shown a straight red. Ruiz kept his composure to drill home his second of the afternoon from the spot – sending his penalty straight down the middle with power.
Don Cowie dragged an early shot wide for Wigan after outmuscling Stafylidis, before Fulham broke away at the other end. McCormack should have done better when he received Christensen’s pass but he saw his scuffed effort blocked.
Wigan were offered a wonderful chance to take the lead on nine minutes when Kostas Stafylidis clumsily caught Callum McManaman in the box. James Adcock pointed straight to the spot and former Brentford midfielder Forshaw made no mistake from twelve yards. The hosts could easily have gone two in front quickly afterwards as Dan Burn smothered a Maynor Figueroa header and Nikolay Bodurov headed over his own bar under real pressure.
Symons’ side gradually began to get a foothold in the contest. Some brilliant play from George Williams saw the young winger get all the way to the byline but former Wigan forward Rodallega had his shot deflected wide. Wigan nearly doubled their lead when Fortune charged down the left, into the Fulham area but was denied by an excellent save from Marcus Bettinelli.
Fulham drew level on the half hour when Christensen outmuscled Barnett, glided around Scott Carson and rolled a composed finish into the empty net. The former England goalkeeper then excelled himself to deny Rodallega’s low drive, with the away side’s shouts for handball against Barnett waved away by Adcock. But there had been a definite momentum shift and, ten minutes before the break, the visitors were in front. McCormack’s cross was so precise from the right that Ruiz could chest a finish over the line from barely a yard out.
Wigan responded assertively after the break and they equalised in outstanding fashion when Espinoza drove home from fully 25 yards. McCormack might have restored Fulham’s when he drilled an effort at the near post, but the mercurial Scot was then dismissed for two rather needless bookings. The first arrived after he lunged in late on James Tavernier by the byline and he was sent off after clashing with James McClean on the right flank.
The hosts introduced Maloney for the final ten minutes and the Scot scored with his first touch after being teed up by Espinoza. That looked like being the winner but Wigan reckoned without their old boy coming back to haunt them. Rodallega’s rampaging run through the Latics defence was only ended by a crude tackle for Barnett. The centre back was shown a red and, after an interminable wait, Ruiz dispatched the spot-kick to rescue a point for the Whites.
WIGAN ATHLETIC (4-2-3-1): Carson; Tavernier, Figueroa, Barnett, Kiernan; Forshaw, Huws (McClean 62); McManaman (Maloney 81), Espinoza (Ramis 87), Cowie; Fortune. Subs (not used): Nicholls, Kvist, Delort, Waghorn.
SENT OFF: Barnett.
GOALS: Forshaw (pen 9), Espinoza (54), Maloney (82).