Date: 29th October 2008 at 10:17pm
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Two Andy Johnson goals sent Latics crashing to their fourth defeat in as many games with Fulham leap frogging above them in the table this was a pre-Halloween horror show.

Latics started the game with Melchiot and Valencia returning to the starting line-up and the surprise inclusion of Kilbane on the left, Bramble, DeRidder and Kapo missing out from Sundays side that lost to Aston Villa.

Fulham started the game the brightest with ex-Latic favourite Jimmy Bullard pulling the strings in midfield, but it was Latics summer transfer target Andy Johnson who opened the scoring on 10 minutes.

The ball was played down the left to Paul Konchesky and the left back crossed for an un-marked and offside looking Johnson to knock the ball home off his shin from 2 yards, but to be honest off-side or not there was some very poor defensive work being done by the Latics.

Fulham controlled the game for the next 25 minutes though they didn`t have any more scoring opportunities, indeed it was the Latics who came closest to scoring, a Maynor Figueroa effort flew inches wide on 35 minutes with Schwarzer in the Fulham goal grasping at air and with just one minute of the first half left Zaki broke down the left and crossed Scharner met the ball full on with his head a yard out and with the goal at his mercy ballooned it over the bar.

The second half saw Fulham continue to control the game and they should have gone two-nil up when Gera had the ball unmarked 6 yards from the Latics goal, his effort cannoned back off the post.

Johnson put the game to bed on the hour when he latched onto a quickly taken Jimmy Bullard free-kick and slotted home from a tight angle leaving the Latics defence catching a cold.

The Latics huffed and puffed but created very little once again and we now have a serious situation on our hands, the heads have dropped and it looks like it will take all Bruces motivational powers to raise them up again.

Portsmouth on Saturday will be a very tough match and if the players turn up with the same attitude of the last two games a good hiding may well be on the cards, something needs to happen and it needs to happen now to get the side back on track.

Player Ratings

Chris Kirkland – 6
Not at fault with either goal

Mario Melchiot – 7
Did nothing wrong and tried to rally his troops, some nice touches

Paul Scharner – 5
Caught cold for both goals, having a bad season

Emerson Boyce – 5
Doesnt look comfortable at the moment

Maynor Figueroa – 6
Got caught along with Scharner for the first goal

Valencia – 6
Didnt get in the game at all

Palacios – 6
Some tired performances of late from Wilson and this was another one

Cattermole – 7
Got frustrated and booked, Bruce took him off before he got sent off

Kilbane – 5
Looked way off the pace and was luck to escape with just a booking following a missed timed and rash challenge

Heskey – 5
Nothing go right for the big man

Zaki – 6
Put a bit of effort in and laid on Scharners chance but that was it

Koumas – 6
Came on for Figueroa and tried to make a difference

Camara – 5
Only contribution was getting caught off side
Came on and carried on from where he left off on Sunday, had a shot and nearly hit the corner flag

Manager Rating
Steve Bruce – 5 Needed to change it earlier than he did

Opponent Rating
Roy Hodgson – 5 very uninspiring but still managed to beat us