Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Dempsey brace downs Latics

Clint Dempsey

Clint Dempsey struck twice as Fulham avoided a third successive Barclays Premier League defeat to beat Wigan 2-0 to rocket up the table.

Dempsey took his tally for the season to five with both goals arriving in the first half of an encounter dominated by Mark Hughes' side.

It was Wigan's first defeat in seven games and they appeared lethargic, hardly troubling goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer throughout the 90 minutes.

After Brede Hangeland had headed over the crossbar, Wigan's Charles N'Zogbia ended a dynamic run by blazing wide of the left post as the visitors enjoyed a rare attacking moment in the first half.

Fulham were still the more likely goal scorers, however, and in the 30th minute they went ahead through Dempsey.

Danny Murphy sprayed the ball wide to Carlos Salcido, who dashed forward before delivering a tremendous cross into the six-yard box. Dempsey drifted in between Antolin Alcaraz and Gary Caldwell before outjumping the latter and heading into the net.

Salcido delivered another superb cross which Dempsey appeared to have converted only for goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi to scoop his effort off the line. The ball fell to Zoltan Gera, but he nodded over from point-blank range.

Fulham were on the rampage and the second arrived a minute before half-time, Chris Baird supplying a wonderful pass that outwitted Caldwell for Dempsey to convert.

Moussa Dembele was eventually crowded out as he zig-zagged his way into Wigan's area before Salcido found the top netting with a speculative lob.

Fulham continued to dominate but could not produce the decisive ball, before Simon Davies was replaced by Andy Johnson with 10 minutes to go, although the former England striker had little impact.

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