Hughes welcomes Johnson goal

Published Jan. 16, 2011 11:48 a.m. ET

Mark Hughes has backed Andrew Johnson to keep scoring after he got his first Premier League goal in almost two years in Fulham's draw at Wigan.

The hosts went ahead in the 57th minute through Hugo Rodallega, who neatly guided the ball over David Stockdale.

Substitute Johnson made it 1-1 with four minutes of normal time remaining, collecting Clint Dempsey's pass and unleashing a shot that hit Gary Caldwell on its way towards goal, leaving Ali Al Habsi unable to stop it going in.

Johnson, who has been blighted by injuries, had not scored in the top flight since March 2009, but Hughes is convinced the former England international will now start hitting the back of the net more regularly again.

"That will do him the world of good," Hughes said.

"All he has been missing in recent weeks in terms of performances is goals.

"Now he is off and running, I'm confident that he will kick on and score goals for us from now until the end of the season.


"Strikers need goals, that is what settles them down. That is all that has been missing - you see the energy that he gives the team and his willingness to work hard, chasing lost causes. That is going to be important for us."

Prior to Johnson's leveller, Fulham thought they had equalised when Dempsey finished from close range, but the effort was disallowed for handball.

Hughes admitted it was the right call and was pleased his players did not let it get them down.

"It was the correct decision in fairness, but you've seen referees give them in the past, overruling their linesman," Hughes said.

"Not on this occasion, and sometimes teams can be disappointed when those decisions seem to go against them, but not my team.

"They stuck at it and I'm delighted that we were able to get something out of it."

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez was frustrated his side could not hold out for the victory.

"The feeling when you concede that late, it leaves you with a bad taste," Martinez said.

"In the first half we couldn't be ourselves or as fluent as we want to be for different reasons - the pitch and the referee.

"We had probably the best move in the game with a header from Hugo which hit the post, and we didn't do that enough.

"But then I was proud with the reaction in the second half. We started to grow into the game, were a little bit braver to get on the ball and take risks and we achieved the hardest thing in football, which is scoring that first goal.

"After that we had a good chance to kill the game off. When we couldn't get on the ball and allowed Fulham to push forward I felt that we defended really well with good intensity, and Ali was magnificent commanding his defence.

"It had to be a deflected shot that beat us really late.

"Those details probably sum up our afternoon - we didn't get that little bit of luck that you need in games."