Norwich 2-1 Wigan
Wes Hoolahan's fine individual display helped Norwich beat Wigan 2-1 to extend their unbeaten league run to 10 games.
The Irishman created one and scored another against a Wigan side who remain in the Premier League's bottom three.
His hard work set up Anthony Pilkington to fire home at the near post after 15 minutes, before Shaun Maloney equalised with a long-range effort.
Pilkington then turned provider as Hoolahan's emphatic header sent Norwich into the top half of the table.
Following an unbeaten run that goes back to the start of October, Norwich are now only two points shy of a place in the top four.
Wigan were unable to reproduce their usual flowing style, and the first 15 minutes served up little by way of entertainment or goalmouth action.
The only spark came from Hoolahan, who repeatedly dropped deep to find space in the congested midfield. After pleasing the crowd with a few flicks, the 30-year-old showed there was far more to his game than some pretty touches.
Emerson Boyce dwelt on the ball too long before Hoolahan pounced and quickly spotted Pilkington's run down the pitch. His through-ball was magnificent, allowing the forward to take a touch before hammering his shot high past Ali Al-Habsi, who could only get a hand to it.
Pilkington and Al-Habsi were the main protagonists in the remainder of the first half. First, the Norwich man blasted wide after the goalkeeper spilled a routine catch, then the Omani made amends with a magnificent one-handed save from Robert Snodgrass's header.
Roberto Martinez brought on Shaun Maloney and David Jones at half-time for the injured James McCarthy and the ineffective Jordi Gomez.
The double switch paid dividends almost immediately, as Maloney scored Wigan's first away goal since Ben Watson's winner at Tottenham on 3 November.
James McArthur's neat ball out wide found Arouna Kone, who rolled the ball to the edge of the box. Maloney opened up his body and struck across the ball, angling it away from Mark Bunn and into the far corner.
Buoyed by their equaliser, Wigan were enjoying their best period of the game. Mauro Boselli, making his first Premier league start since December 2010, had a decent chance but failed to convert Maloney's deep cross.
Parity only lasted 13 minutes however, with Hoolahan grabbing a goal befitting his overall performance.
Pilkington twisted away from Emmerson Boyce down the left hand side before finding Hoolahan, who perfectly guided his header past Al-Habsi in front of the watching Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli.
The goal really calmed the home side down. As their midfield diamond sparkled, the Canaries were twice more denied by Al-Habsi, most impressively when he deflected Pilkington's close-range shot away with a strong right hand.
Wigan did have one last chance though, when Kone went close in stoppage time. His effort was bravely blocked by Sebastien Bassong, but an equaliser would have been unjust on Norwich and Hoolahan.
Norwich City manager Chris Hughton:
"It is not being negative, but for a club like ourselves, it is about keeping as big a gap as you can between us [and those at the bottom].
"There is no shame in saying that, it is a reality for clubs like ourselves.
"But our form at the moment has deserved it.
"We are a team which has to work very hard for the points we get, so there will be no getting carried away."
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez:
"Our start was sluggish and pedestrian, we were very, very, poor and had our goalkeeper to thank for keeping us in the game.
"The second half was very different, we started to control the game and Norwich had to start to defend.
"We scored a beautiful goal and were starting to build positive momentum, so our disappointment is the smallest man on the pitch gets a free header in the six-yard box.
"I felt with our second-half performance we merited something out of the game, but it was a self-inflicted defeat."
Martinez on Bradley Johnson's challenge on James McCarthy, which forced the midfielder off at half-time:
"It is one of those actions you don't want to see. James McCarthy has been in good form, and they took him out of the game, which is very disappointing.
"It is his ankle ligaments, we will X-ray it and get the results from the scans very shortly, but I doubt if he will be available for the next 10 days."
- 28 Bunn
- 03 Whittaker
- 05 Bassong Booked
- 06 Turner
- 18 Garrido
- 04 Johnson Booked
- 07 Snodgrass
- 12 Pilkington Booked (E Bennett - 90' )
- 14 Hoolahan (Howson - 84' )
- 27 Tettey
- 09 Holt (Morison - 90' )
- 13 Rudd
- 02 R Martin
- 20 Barnett
- 08 Howson
- 17 E Bennett
- 10 Jackson
- 16 Morison
- 26 Al Habsi
- 17 Boyce
- 23 Stam
- 24 Lopez Booked
- 31 Figueroa
- 04 McCarthy (Jones - 46' )
- 14 Gomez (Maloney - 46' )
- 16 McArthur
- 22 Beausejour
- 02 Kone
- 19 Boselli (Di Santo - 72' )
- 12 Pollitt
- 25 Golobart
- 06 Jones
- 10 Maloney
- 20 Fyvie
- 09 Di Santo
- 15 McManaman
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows his whistle to end the game.90:00 +4:31
Effort on goal by Arouna Kone from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.90:00 +3:36
Free kick taken by Mark Bunn.90:00 +3:36 Substitution
Substitution (Norwich) makes a substitution, with Elliott Bennett coming on for Anthony Pilkington.90:00 +3:36
The official flags Arouna Kone offside.90:00 +2:44
Corner taken left-footed by Jean Beausejour, Ali Al Habsi takes a shot. Michael Turner gets a block in.90:00 +2:30
Arouna Kone takes a shot. Blocked by Sebastien Bassong.89:29 Substitution
Substitution (Norwich) makes a substitution, with Steve Morison coming on for Grant Holt.89:29
Robert Snodgrass produces a curled left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.88:58
Ronnie Stam sends in a cross, Michael Turner manages to make a clearance.88:19
A cross is delivered by Ronnie Stam, clearance by Bradley Johnson.86:55
Bradley Johnson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ronnie Stam. Emmerson Boyce takes the free kick.86:16
Jean Beausejour sends in a cross, Mark Bunn makes a comfortable save.85:49
Ronnie Stam delivers the ball, Robert Snodgrass makes a clearance.85:14
A cross is delivered by Grant Holt, Adrian Lopez makes a clearance.83:24
Free kick crossed by Javier Garrido, clearance made by Adrian Lopez.83:24 Substitution
Substitution Jonathan Howson is brought on as a substitute for Wesley Hoolahan.83:24
Emmerson Boyce concedes a free kick for a foul on Wesley Hoolahan.80:32
Corner taken left-footed by David Jones from the right by-line, comfortable save by Mark Bunn.80:18
The ball is delivered by Maynor Figueroa, clearance by Sebastien Bassong.
Corner taken left-footed by Robert Snodgrass, A cross is delivered by Michael Turner.75:38
Effort on goal by Steven Whittaker from 25 yards. Ali Al Habsi makes a save.74:37
Shot by Anthony Pilkington. Save made by Ali Al Habsi. Corner taken right-footed by Anthony Pilkington, clearance made by Franco Di Santo.74:28
The ball is crossed by Robert Snodgrass, clearance made by Emmerson Boyce.70:52 Substitution
Substitution Mauro Boselli goes off and Franco Di Santo comes on.70:52
Ronnie Stam crosses the ball.69:34
Short corner taken by Anthony Pilkington from the left by-line. The ball is delivered by Javier Garrido.69:22
Shot by Bradley Johnson. Save made by Ali Al Habsi.67:50
Jean Beausejour gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Whittaker. Robert Snodgrass crosses the ball in from the free kick, Adrian Lopez manages to make a clearance.63:42
The assist for the goal came from Anthony Pilkington.63:42 Goal scored
Goal! - Wesley Hoolahan - Norwich 2 - 1 Wigan Wesley Hoolahan finds the net with a headed goal from inside the penalty area. Norwich 2-1 Wigan.62:07
Centre by Robert Snodgrass, Grant Holt produces a right-footed shot from close range which goes wide of the right-hand post.61:49
Anthony Pilkington delivers the ball.60:53
David Jones gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Wesley Hoolahan. Free kick crossed left-footed by Robert Snodgrass, clearance made by Adrian Lopez.60:32
Steven Whittaker produces a cross, clearance by Adrian Lopez.59:38
The ball is sent over by Shaun Maloney.58:24
Ronnie Stam sends in a cross, save by Mark Bunn.57:46
Maynor Figueroa takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save made by Mark Bunn.57:03
Free kick awarded for a foul by Alexander Tettey on Shaun Maloney. David Jones takes the free kick.56:11
Direct free kick taken by Shaun Maloney.56:11 Booking
Booking Booking for Sebastien Bassong for unsporting behaviour.56:04
Unfair challenge on James McArthur by Sebastien Bassong results in a free kick.54:57
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jean Beausejour by Steven Whittaker. Direct free kick taken by James McArthur.50:38
Assist on the goal came from Arouna Kone.50:38 Goal scored
Goal! - Shaun Maloney - Norwich 1 - 1 Wigan Goal scored by Shaun Maloney from outside the penalty box to the top right corner of the goal. Norwich 1-1 Wigan.50:16
The ball is sent over by Jean Beausejour, clearance made by Sebastien Bassong.48:12
Jean Beausejour fouled by Alexander Tettey, the ref awards a free kick. Shaun Maloney has an effort direct from the free kick.47:12
The ball is delivered by Ronnie Stam, clearance made by Bradley Johnson.46:24
Corner taken left-footed by Robert Snodgrass, save made by Ali Al Habsi.46:06
Corner taken by Robert Snodgrass from the right by-line to the near post, Mauro Boselli makes a clearance.45:50
Grant Holt has a volleyed shot. Save made by Ali Al Habsi.45:01
The match restarts for the second half.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Shaun Maloney on for Jordi Gomez.45:01 Substitution
Substitution James McCarthy goes off and David Jones comes on.45:00 +3:15 Half time
Half Time The first half comes to an end.45:00 +2:58
The referee blows for offside against Grant Holt. Emmerson Boyce restarts play with the free kick.45:00 +2:15
The ball is delivered by Ronnie Stam.45:00 +1:43
Robert Snodgrass crosses the ball, save by Ali Al Habsi.45:00 +0:31
Shot by James McCarthy. Blocked by Alexander Tettey.42:44
The assistant referee signals for offside against Mauro Boselli. Free kick taken by Mark Bunn.41:01
The ball is sent over by Ronnie Stam, Mauro Boselli takes a shot. Save made by Mark Bunn.40:08 Booking
Booking Adrian Lopez is cautioned by the ref for dissent.39:02
Grant Holt produces a cross, Emmerson Boyce makes a clearance.38:46
Centre by Maynor Figueroa, Michael Turner makes a clearance.38:02
Maynor Figueroa takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Alexander Tettey gets a block in.37:29
Centre by Alexander Tettey, clearance by Emmerson Boyce.36:34
A cross is delivered by Javier Garrido, Robert Snodgrass takes a shot. Ali Al Habsi makes a fantastic save.35:34
Jean Beausejour produces a cross, Arouna Kone has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.34:46
Free kick awarded for a foul by Bradley Johnson on James McCarthy. Jordi Gomez takes the direct free kick.34:10
The referee blows for offside against Mauro Boselli. Mark Bunn restarts play with the free kick.33:37
Steven Whittaker produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the goal.32:21
Centre by Robert Snodgrass, Ali Al Habsi makes a save. Anthony Pilkington produces a right-footed shot from close range which goes wide of the right-hand post.31:42
The offside flag is raised against Mauro Boselli. Free kick taken by Mark Bunn.30:44
The ball is swung over by Wesley Hoolahan, Adrian Lopez makes a clearance.29:12
Ronnie Stam delivers the ball.28:26
Shot by Alexander Tettey. Blocked by James McArthur.28:22
Anthony Pilkington takes a shot. Ronnie Stam gets a block in.25:50
Free kick taken by Ali Al Habsi.25:50 Booking
Booking Anthony Pilkington booked for unsporting behaviour.24:57
Shot by Robert Snodgrass from 18 yards. Comfortable save by Ali Al Habsi.24:17
James McArthur takes a shot. Save by Mark Bunn.21:07
Free kick taken by Emmerson Boyce.21:07 Booking
Booking The referee shows Bradley Johnson a yellow card.20:40
Bradley Johnson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on James McCarthy.20:00
Ronnie Stam sends in a cross.19:47
Maynor Figueroa produces a cross.17:35
Effort on goal by Steven Whittaker from 20 yards. Blocked by James McArthur. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Robert Snodgrass played to the near post, Ali Al Habsi makes a save. Corner taken by Robert Snodgrass from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Mauro Boselli.16:13
The ball is crossed by Ronnie Stam. Jordi Gomez is ruled offside. Mark Bunn takes the free kick.14:14
Assist on the goal came from Wesley Hoolahan.14:14 Goal scored
Goal! - Anthony Pilkington - Norwich 1 - 0 Wigan Anthony Pilkington grabs a goal from just inside the area to the top left corner of the goal. Norwich 1-0 Wigan.10:49
Inswinging corner taken by Jean Beausejour from the right by-line. Shot from deep inside the area by Jordi Gomez clears the crossbar.10:25
Ronnie Stam produces a cross, clearance by Sebastien Bassong.7:52
Alexander Tettey has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.3:49
Unfair challenge on Grant Holt by Adrian Lopez results in a free kick. Free kick crossed by Anthony Pilkington, clearance by James McCarthy.0:00
The match begins.
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