Fulham 3 Wigan Athletic 2

Michael Jacobs
Michael Jacobs

A 94th-minute goal from substitute Neeskens Kebano eventually broke the hearts of Wigan Athletic as Fulham edged a thriller at Craven Cottage by the odd goal in five.

Latics had looked set to make some real ground at the bottom of the Championship when Michael Jacobs gave them a 2-1 lead with virtually the last kick of the first half.

Fulham had taken an early lead through Floyd Ayite, only for the visitors to deservedly level when Stephen Warnock’s cross was put through his own goal by Scott Malone.

Latics created and squandered a great chance to open-up a two-goal lead at the start of the second period when Omar Bogle raced clean through on goal, only for his shot to be diverted away from goal by the legs of goalkeeper David Button.

And Fulham took full advantage in the last 20 minutes to turn the game on its head.

First Denis Odoi fired past Matt Gilks - on as a half-time substitute for the injured Jakob Haugaard - from fully 30 yards to make it 2-2.

Then, with virtually the last kick of the game, Kebano latched on to a clever pass inside the box to slot past Gilks and into the back of the Latics net from close range - despite the best attempts of Dan Burn on the line to keep it out.

It was a harsh end to the afternoon for Burn, who’d really stood up to be counted on his first return to Fulham since moving to the DW Stadium last summer.

The early stages were all Fulham, who knew only a win would keep them on track for a play-off finish.

Sone Aluko saw a fourth-minute effort deflected over for a corner, before Haugaard had to race off his line quickly to smother the ball at the feet of Stefan Johansen.

The Latics goalkeeper came off worse in the collision, but was able to continue after lengthy treatment.

It took until the midway point in the nfirst half for Latics to threaten the Fulham goal, but Bogle’s free-kick was meat and drink for Button in the home goal.

Bogle did much better moments later, turning smartly and trying his luck with a curling shot that Button did well to palm away.

But just as the visitors were looking dangerous, Fulham rocked them on their heels by taking the lead.

Aluko did all the damage down the right, beating David Perkins and crossing for Ayite to slot home from close range.

Credit Latics for the response, though, with Bogle chasing down Tim Ream and dispossessing the Fulham defender on the goalline.

However, with Sam Morsy unmarked and screaming for a pull-back, Bogle instead tried the shot which Button turned behind for a corner.

Bogle made partial amends just after the half-hour mark, though, with his role in the equalising goal.

The ex-Grimsby man would have had a tap in from Warnock’s cross from the left, had Fulham defender Malone not got there first with an accomplished finish of his own to level the scores.

Latics then had to hang on until the interval, with Johansen sending over a delightful cross that deserved to be finished off, before Tom Cairney curled a speculative shot just wide of the far post.

But with the referee’s whistle virtually in his mouth, Latics snatched an interval lead when Max Power crossed for Jacobs to finish from eight yards for his first goal since August.

Latics were forced into a change at half-time with Gilks taking over from Haugaard, but it was the visitors who picked up where they’d left off - and should really have put the game to bed within seven minutes of the restart.

Bogle did ever so well to turn his man and advance on Button, but the goalkeeper came out on top in the one-on-one - which seemed to energise the home fans, who had booed their side off at the break.

Gilks then did well to save from Aluko, with Burn mopping up behind him, before the Fulham man did even better moments later, with a left-foot shot that beat Gilks only to bounce off the bar on its way behind.

Latics tried to add some much-needed energy with on-loan Derby man Jamie Hanson replacing Perkins for his debut, but still Fulham pressed with Aluko this time seeing a flicked effort land on top of the net.

The visitors had another let-off when Johansen’s cross was headed just over by Kebano, but it seemed only a matter of time before the equaliser arrived.

And the pressure finally told with 19 minutes remaining when Odoi sent a daisy-cutter from 30 yards fizzing past Gilks and into the bottom corner of the net.

To their credit, Latics responded positively to being pegged back, with Jacobs forcing a wonderful save from Button at full stretch, before Bogle saw a 30-yard strike flash just over the bar with Button struggling to get there.

That was Bogle’s last involvement before being replaced by Will Grigg, but it was the home side who finished the stronger - and they won it with virtually the last kick.

Kebano took delivery of a neatly-worked move inside the Latics box, and his finish into the far corner was helped over the line by Burn, who couldn’t succeed in lifting the ball away from goal and to safety.