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Fulham happy with a draw at Wigan

last updated Monday 09th November 2009, 4:10 PM
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Neil Johnston at The Times

Wigan Athletic 1 Fulham 1

Roberto Martínez, the Wigan Athletic manager, can expect a relatively comfortable ride a week tomorrow when he faces his first fans' forum since taking charge in the summer.

One defeat in four, neatly tucked in mid-table . . . the Barclays Premier League's youngest manager can head into the international break satisfied with his work so far. Yet there will be no respite for the 36-year-old; a failure to take their chances yesterday against a Fulham side there for the taking, coupled with Wigan having one of the poorest scoring records at home - six goals in as many games - will see to that.

For long periods they promised so much against Roy Hodgson's side yet could not deliver. Martínez is desperate to address the issue as he looks to avoid Wigan being sucked into the battle towards the bottom of the table. "We had a lot of chances but couldn't get the second goal," he said. "I'm happy with the performance but not with the point." Had Mark Schwarzer not been at his vintage best, Wigan would have been celebrating a win. Instead they were left to reflect on a second successive home draw after the 37-year-old goalkeeper produced stunning saves to deny Charles N'Zogbia, Hugo Rodallega, Paul Scharner and Hendry Thomas.

Schwarzer, however, was unable to keep out Emmerson Boyce's close-range effort in the thirteenth minute, which gave the home team the lead soon after Erik Nevland had headed against a Wigan post.

Despite showing only one change, Fulham never achieved the heights that they managed eight days earlier against Liverpool, perhaps understandable after their disappointing Europa League experience away to Roma on Thursday, when they threw away the lead to lose 2-1 and finished with nine men.

But Clint Dempsey scored a penalty six minutes before half-time and Hodgson said: "My team has shown a lot of character this week and I have to be happy with a point here."

Wigan Athletic (4-4-1-1): C Kirkland 7 - M Melchiot 6, E Boyce 7, T Bramble 6, E Edman 7 (sub: S Sinclair, 77min) - C N'Zogbia 8, H Thomas 6, M Diamé 6, H Rodallega 6 - P Scharner 7 - J Scotland 6 (sub: J Koumas, 90).
Substitutes not used: M Pollitt, Cho Won Hee, A Amaya, J Gómez, D de Ridder. Booked: Edman, Bramble. Next: Tottenham Hotspur (a).

Fulham (4-4-2): M Schwarzer 8 - J Paintsil 6, B Hangeland 6, A Hughes 6, P Konchesky 6 - C Dempsey 7, C Baird 6, J Greening 6 (sub: D Etuhu, 78) D Duff 6 - R Zamora 6, E Nevland 6 (sub: Z Gera, 84).
Substitutes not used: P Zuberbühler, S Kelly, B H Riise, C Smalling, K Dikgacoi. Booked: Etuhu. Next: Birmingham City (a).

Referee: P Dowd. Attendance: 16,172.
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