Norwich's Wes Hoolahan netted the winner in a hard-fought 2-1 win over Wigan
By Follow me @Pistolpeteh86. Last Updated: December 17, 2012 6:30pm
Wes Hoolahan: Headed the winner for Norwich, to extend their unbeaten run.
Norwich's Wes Hoolahan celebrated signing a new deal by netting the winner in a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Wigan at Carrow Road.
Anthony Pilkington's powerful strike separated the sides at half-time, but Shaun Maloney's superb equaliser brought Wigan back into the game early in the second period.
However, after great work down the left by Pilkington, the impressive Hoolahan, who prior to kick-off penned a contract extension keeping him at Norwich until summer 2015, headed the winner from close range to give the Canaries a deserved three points.
The win extended City's unbeaten run to 10 Premier League games, their longest sequence without defeat in the top-flight since March 1987.
Best of the match
- Goal of the match: Shaun Maloney. Found the top corner for outside the box with an powerful strike after good work from Kone.
- Save of the match: Ali Al Habsi. Pilkington's drive looked destined for the roof of the net, until Al Habsi acrobatically tipped it wide.
- Miss of the match: Anthony Pilkington. Looked odds-on to score after an Al Habsi error, but fired wide from close range.
- Gaffes of the match: Ronnie Stam's crossing. Got into some great positions, but couldn't put the ball into the box.
- Talking point: What a job Chris Hughton is doing at Carrow Road. How long can their run go on for? Wigan were poor again. Could they be in trouble at the end of the season?
After a cagey opening, the game sprang into life thanks to Pilkington's goal.
Hoolahan, who was fantastic throughout, quickly intercepted the ball, and laid a pass through for Pilkington, who smashed the ball past Ali Al Habsi into the roof of the net.
The goal acted as a wake-up call for Wigan, who had started poorly. Neat interplay between Arouna Kone and James McArthur resulted in the Scotsman bringing a smart save from Mark Bunn down to his left.
Al Habsi, who will be disappointed not to have saved the first goal, again looked shaky, as he could only palm a cross into the path of Pilkington, who could not convert.
However, the Latics keeper more than made up for his earlier errors, with a fantastic instinctive save from point-black range to deny Robert Snodgrass from a Javier Garrido cross.
Two changes at half-time from Roberto Martinez made a huge difference to Wigan, and it was one of those substitutes - Maloney - who superbly brought the visitors back into the game early in the second period.
Kone looked to have run out of options, but calmly found Maloney on the edge of the 18-yard box and he rifled the ball past a helpless Bunn.
Wigan could not maintain their pressure, and Grant Holt should have done better with a volley to put Norwich back in front, before Hoolahan netted what turned out to be the winner from six yards, getting on the end of an excellent Pilkington centre.
Pilkington himself could have added to his tally late on, bringing a one-handed save out of Al Habsi, but Norwich held on for a deserved victory, and kept their incredible run going.
|Norwich City||Team Statistics||Wigan Athletic|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|8||Shots on Target||4|
|6||Shots off Target||4|
|50.5||1st Half Poss.||49.5|
|44.6||2nd Half Poss.||55.4|
Barclays Premier League
|8||West Bromwich Albion||37||48|
|10||West Ham United||37||43|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||37||25|
Norwich v Wigan
Chris Hughton expects to find out later in the week the extent of a hamstring strain suffered by Grant Holt.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez was unhappy with Norwich midfielder Bradley Johnson after the 2-1 defeat at Carrow Road.
Roberto Martinez says his Wigan side didn't defend with enough urgency and intensity in the 2-1 defeat to Norwich.