Match report: Wigan Athletic 1, Fulham 1 - brave Latics relegated

Wigan Athletic's brave attempt to avoid relegation has failed at the final hurdle after drawing 1-1 with Fulham at the DW Stadium.
Kieffer Moore heads Wigan into the leadKieffer Moore heads Wigan into the lead
Kieffer Moore heads Wigan into the lead

The crisis stricken Latics failed to pick up the three points they needed against Scott Parker's men on Wednesday night, thus condemning them to League One next season

Facing a 12-point deduction as soon as the final whistle sounded on the final game of the season, Paul Cook's men needed to beat the Cottagers and hope either Charlton or Luton failed to pick up three points.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Despite beginning the match in a comfortable 13th spot with 58 points to their name in the table, theoretically they kicked-off in the drop zone, a point above bottom side Hull and level with second bottom Barnsley albeit with a superior goal difference.

Luton Town and Charlton - who the Latics drew 2-2 with at The Valley on Saturday - were two points above.

Kieffer Moore gave the Latics hope by heading home in the first half to hand the hosts the lead at the interval.

But Neeskens Kebano curled home a beautiful free-kick three minutes into the second half.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Despite creating a catalogue of chances in the second half, the hosts could not find a way through and they will be relegated, barring a successful appeal to their point penalty later this month.

Elsewhere, Luton defeated Blackburn 3-2, but Charlton will also be relegated after they were well beaten by Leeds United 4-0.

An injury-time goal for Barnsley at Brentford ensured their survival.

The Cottagers had a great chance to open the scoring as early as the second minute.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A lung-bursting run down the left by Joe Bryan had the Latics' defence on the run.

He played in Kebano whose cross picked out Aleksandar Mitrović but the Serbian blazed over form 12 yards.

The Latics began to grow into the game and Joe Williams flashed a shot across goal in the 12th minute after good work down the right by Nathan Byrne.

Two minutes laters Kebano stung the palms of Latics No.1 David Marshall after a jinking run and shot

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Then just after the quarter hour mark, Kal Naismith's shot from just outside the area was comfortably saved by Marek Rodák.

The hosts continued to force the issue and skipper Sam Morsy had Rodak scrambling but his fierce shot from 25 yards whistled past the post.

You sensed a goal was coming and it duly arrived in the 28th minute - but unfortunately for Wigan it was ruled out for offside.

Naismith found himself free in the box and his shot was saved by Rodak, but Moore was on hand to turn home the rebound from four yards, but his celebration were cut short when he noticed the raised flag of the linesman.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The big centre forward - subject of much interest from a host of clubs ahead of the game - was causing all sorts of trouble and he maybe should have been awarded a penalty just after the half-hour mark after appearing to be dragged down.

There was no keeping Moore out of the action and it was he who handed the hosts a priceless lead in the 32nd minute.

The former Barnsley man started and finished the move. First he controlled the ball before laying it back to Williams, who found Byrne on the right-hand side with a first-time pass.

The full-back attacked his opposite number before standing up and inviting cross into the six yard box where the towering presence of Moore was on hand to nod home.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

At this point, news will have filtered through that Leeds had taken 2-0 lead against Charlton, but Luton had responded to going a goal behind, by leading Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at Kenilworth Road.

Meanwhile, the Cottagers still had it all to play for in their bid to reach the Premier League automatically.

With second-placed West Bromwich Albion drawing at home to QPR and third-placed Brentford losing to Barnsley in the last ever game to be played at Griffin Park, Scott Parker's men hit back.

Josh Onomah poked a shot just wide of Marshall's post in the 35th minute while Harry Arter blazed over a minute before the interval.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With the knowledge of results elsewhere at the interval, the visitors came out for the second half with renewed vigour and they found a route back into the match in the 48th minute.

Williams was penalised harshly on the edge of the area and Kebano stepped up to curl a beauty into the top corner.

Two minutes later Byrne had to throw himself in front of the ball to block a shot after a goalmouth scramble two minutes later.

The equaliser could have deflated the Latics, but they kept on battling and should have re-taken the led a minute before the hour mark.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A brilliant delivery with his left-foot from the right by Naismith picked out defender Leon Balogun.

However, the centre half's point blank header from six yards was brilliantly tipped away by Rodak.

Soon after the blistering pace of Antonee Robinson handed a Kieran Dowell a shooting opportunity but the 22-year-old blasted his shot into the side netting.

The Latics began to push forward in search of the goal which save them from the drop.

In the final 15 minutes they peppered the Fulham goal.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Great link-up play between Williams and Naismith released Byrne down the right but his cross was completely missed by Lowe in the six-yard box and Moore failed to control ball in the aftermath.

Soon after Naismith and Williams both went close with shots from outside the area which just went wide of the post.

With the hosts pressing, they were vulnerable to the counter attack and Marshall had to make himself big to block Reid shot.

Cook threw on substitutes Joe Gelhardt, Lee Evans and Joe Garner and in the dying moments Gelhardt forced Rodak into a smart save low to his left.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Unfortunately, that was to be the last action and the players were visibly upset on the pitch at the final whistle.

WIGAN: David Marshall, Nathan Byrne, Antonee Robinson, Cedric Kipre, Leon Balogun (Lee Evans 93), Sam Morsy, Joe Williams (Joe Garner 93), Kieran Dowell (Joe Gelhardt 84), Kal Naismith, Jamal Lowe, Kieffer Moore

SUBS: Jamie Jones, Lewis Macleod, Jan Mlakar, Joe Garner, Tom Pearce, Alex Dobre, Gavin Massey, Gary Roberts

Booked: Robinson, Morsy, Williams

FULHAM: Marek Rodák, Denis Odoi (Aboubakar Kamara 82) Michael Hector, Joe Bryan, Tim Ream, Harry Arter (Kevin McDonald 72), Tom Cairney (Cyrus Christie82), Anthony Knockaert (Bobby Reid 66), Josh Onomah, Neeskens Kebano, Aleksandar Mitrović

SUBS:Marcus Bettinelli, Alfie Mawson, Maxime Le Marchand,, Stefan Johansen, Steven Sessegnon

Booked: Odoi, Omomah, Kebano