Saturday, 29 December 2007

Fulham 1 - 1 Wigan Athletic

I actually ended up in the Johnny Haynes stand for this game, using one of the special offer extra £5 tickets available to season ticket holders. I was way over the other corner to where I usually sit and crikey, it was quiet. I was easily the loudest person in there. This being Wigan there were also lots of empty seats (still made of wood in JH) but fewer than expected. It was definitely the smallest away crowd seen though.
Fulham were unlucky to be playing them at this point as they'd turned it around under new (and old) manager Steve Bruce.
In truth Fulham were all over Wigan in the first half, playing some wonderful sweeping football. How they didn't score I don't know. The second half struggled to be honest, at least until Marcus Bent scored. While it wasn't against the run of play, I couldn't say Wigan deserved it. It was actually the second time I'd seen Bent score this season - I went to Charlton v Scunthorpe on the opening game of the season and he got the equaliser there. I spoke to a Charlton fan later who was chuffed that Bent had scored because it might fool another club to come in and make an offer for 'the lazy sod'. Hence the transfer to Wigan.
The game picked up again after this and Dempsey's goal was a very smart finish. I can't quite put a handle on Dempsey. He appears to have been deployed in the inside right position, so it's hard to judge his impact. He's been scoring some important goals though. He's certainly more effective than Bouazza at inside left.
Caretaker manager Ray Lewington was bullish about his chances of taking the job on full time after this result. The thing is, it was a home draw against a relegation rival. It's not going to be enough to keep Fulham up especially with home games against the top four and a woeful away record. Fortunately Lewington has got the heave-ho after the 5-1 humiliation by Spurs for the surprise appointment of Roy Hodgson.
Hodgson is particularly well qualified, but I don't think that he will bring the attractive football that Chairman Mo is after. He will make Fulham hard to beat though, which is a step in the right direction. I'll reserve my judgement until I've seen the new look side under 'Woy' but I've a horrible feeling he won't be able to save the team from relegation.

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