A cruel 89th minute winner by Fulham’s giant defender Phillipe Senderos and a win for QPR against Spurs meant that Wigan slipped to fourth from bottom of the league table with three games left to play.
Wigan retained the same line up that had beaten Arsenal at the Emirates with a fit Shaun Maloney only on the bench. The Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak returned to the Fulham starting line up after an injury lay off.
In fairness to both teams it was a relatively uneventful first half until Jordi Gomez brought a good save from Mark Schwarzer on the stroke of half time.
On 57 minutes Wigan took the lead from an unlikely source, Emmerson Boyce played a ball to Conor Sammon on the edge of the Fulham box and the ball ricocheted back to him off Senderos and from twenty yards out the Barbadian international hit a screamer past Schwarzer.
But Wigan’s lead only lasted one minute, as the prolific Pogrebnyak equalised when he lashed in a left foot shot from the edge of the box.
The 6ft 3in Russian striker has now scored six goals in only eight Premier League appearances and is becoming a colossus for an in-form Fulham outfit. He was instrumental in turning the game in the Cottagers favour as he posed a constant threat to the Wigan goal.
As the game moved into the final third Fulham pegged Wigan back into defence and created some great opportunities.
John Arne Riise crossed low and Pogrebnyak’s flick was deflected by Al Habsi onto the underside of the cross-bar before coming down on the goal line. The TV replays were inconclusive as to whether the ball had crossed the line, but Pogrebnyak bravely admitted afterwards that the ball had not crossed the line.
The Fulham onslaught was continuing and Pogrebnyak hit the post after Al Habsi had parried a cross shot by Clint Dempsey. A dangerous cross by Damian Duff hit Gary Caldwell and then Phillipe Senderos before finishing in the side netting.
Wigan seemed to have weathered the storm but in the last-minute from a Riisee free kick Senderos managed to get between Wigan’s central defenders to head powerfully past Al Habsi and grab the three points for Fulham.
To concede a goal so late in the game was cruel on Wigan, but it is fair to say that Fulham had been the better team over the 90 minutes.
In the last six games Wigan have produced some of their best ever Premier League performances, so we should not be too critical of this result after a difficult run of fixtures. However, Roberto Martinez now needs to regroup his players and reinstill the belief and confidence for the three massive games against Newcastle, Blackburn and Wolves which will decide Wigan’s destiny.