Centurion Johnson downs Latics
Striker's 100th goal and first Fulham strike piles pressure on Wigan
Last Updated: 29/10/08 11:57pm
Johnson: Fulham hero
Andrew Johnson's 100th league goal helped Fulham to a 2-0 victory over Wigan at Craven Cottage and provided what could prove a vital three points come the end of the season.
Ahead of kick-off, the two struggling sides were separated only by goals scored as they dangled over the relegation zone, with Wigan enjoying the slight advantage, to leave both sets of supporters already looking nervously over their shoulders.
But a brace from former Birmingham, Crystal Palace and Everton striker Johnson handed Fulham the win on Wednesday evening and piled pressure on Wigan boss Steve Bruce.
The Cottagers took the lead on 11 minutes as Johnson survived Wigan appeals for offside to tap in Paul Konchesky's cross for a personal century.
And after the interval, Johnson took his tally to 101 as he rolled past Chris Kirkland from close range on the hour-mark to double his side's advantage and secure the points.
The victory was Fulham's first in seven matches and helped ease their own concerns after slipping towards the bottom of the table.
Wigan headed in the opposite direction with their dismal run making their unbeaten progress through September seem like a distant memory.
Titus Bramble was dropped to the bench in response to the weekend's 4-0 drubbing by Aston Villa, while Antonio Valencia returned from suspension, but the changes failed to halt the slump.
Conceding a glut of early possession, Wigan came under heavy pressure and paid the price as Johnson sent Fulham ahead in the 10th minute.
Bobby Zamora started the move by picking out left-back Konchesky, who whipped in a low cross to Johnson to convert from close range.
Replays suggested Johnson was offside but he wasted little time celebrating his first goal for Fulham, lifting his shirt to reveal a vest trumpeting his 100th league strike.
The Cottagers remained in full control with Wilson Palacios' cynical tackle on Danny Murphy summing up their frustration.
A clever pass from Murphy gave Simon Davies a clear sight of goal from the edge of the area, but the Wales midfielder skied his shot.
The second half was three minutes old when Fulham went close to extending their lead, Zoltan Gera hitting the post after goalkeeper Kirkland palmed Zamora's shot into his path.
Fans of either team had little to cheer as the second half continued with the ball given away far too easily by both sides.
Jimmy Bullard and Murphy were being out-muscled in an increasingly scrappy midfield battle, but luckily for them Wigan were equally inept at using possession.
The match desperately needed a second goal and it arrived in the 60th minute when Fulham crept further ahead.
Bullard's vision did the initial damage with the former Wigan midfielder turning Paul Scharner inside out with a pass to Johnson.
Johnson had escaped the stranded centre-back and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner from a tight angle.The striker then caught Kirkland with his boot as he raced in on goal but he was able to continue after receiving treatment.
|Fulham||Team Statistics||Wigan Athletic|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|2||Shots on Target||2|
|8||Shots off Target||4|
Barclays Premier League
Wed 29th Oct
Hull City0 - 3Chelsea
Fulham2 - 0Wigan
A Villa3 - 2Blackburn
Stoke1 - 0S'land
Man Utd2 - 0West Ham
Arsenal4 - 4Tottenham
M'boro2 - 0Man City
Bolton0 - 1Everton
Liverpool1 - 0Portsmth
Barclays Premier League
|4||West Ham United||17||31|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||17||17|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||17||17|