Norwich 2 Wigan 1: Head boy Hoolahan celebrates new deal with superb winner
17:11 GMT, 15 December 2012
Wes Hoolahan celebrated signing a new long-term Norwich contract by scoring the winner against Wigan at Carrow Road.
The victory saw Norwich extend their unbeaten run in the Barclays Premier League to 10 games
Although they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Aston Villa here in midweek, they made it five successive home league victories to continue their remarkable turnaround.
Heads up: Wes Hoolahan nods home Norwich's second goal to put his side in the lead
Good start: Anthony Pilkington celebrates after breaking the deadlock in the first half
Norwich: Bunn, Whittaker, Turner, Bassong, Garrido, Snodgrass, Tettey, Johnson, Pilkington (E Bennett 90), Hoolahan (Howson 84), Holt (Morison 90).
Subs not used: Rudd, Martin, Howson, Jackson, Morison, E Bennett, Barnett.
Booked: Bassong, Johnson, Pilkington.
Goals: Pilkington 15, Hoolahan 64.
Wigan: Al Habsi, Boyce, Lopez, Figueroa, Stam, McArthur, McCarthy (Jones 46), Beausejour, Kone, Gomez (Maloney 46), Boselli (Di Santo 72).
Subs not used: Pollitt, Jones, Di Santo, Maloney, McManaman, Fyvie, Golobart.
Goal: Maloney 51.
Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).
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Wigan, meanwhile, have now lost five
of the last seven and remain in the bottom three despite equalising at
the start of the second half through substitute Shaun Maloney, after
Anthony Pilkington had opened the scoring.
There was not much to choose between
the sides during the opening stages, before Norway midfielder Alex
Tettey, back from a thigh problem, tried his luck from 25 yards with a
low effort which flew wide.
The Canaries were ahead on 15 minutes.
Hoolahan, whose new contract take him
up to 2015, carried the ball to the edge of the Wigan penalty area and
then won a 50/50 with Emmerson Boyce to stab a pass through to
The winger took the ball in his stride
before smashing a left-foot drive past Latics keeper Ali Al Habsi and
into the roof of the net.
Wigan looked for a quick response, but
there was a break in play when James McCarthy needed treatment after a
strong challenge by Bradley Johnson, which resulted in the Norwich
midfielder being shown a yellow card.
James McArthur let fly with an angled
drive which Norwich keeper Mark Bunn, replacing injured England
international John Ruddy, held on to at the second attempt.
Referee Lee Probert then incurred the
wrath of the Barclay Stand when he showed Pilkington a yellow card for
diving, when replays suggested the Norwich winger had been tripped by
defender Adrian Lopez as he cut back towards the penalty area.
Pilkington almost hooked the ball in after Al Habsi had spilled a right-wing cross from Robert Snodgrass.
Full-back Steven Whittaker had scored a
fine individual goal in last week's 4-3 win at Swansea and the Scotland
defender surged forwards after 34 minutes to the edge of the Wigan
penalty area before drilling a low, angled shot just wide.
Back on track: Wigan celebrate after Shaun Maloney (second right) scored their equaliser
Take that: Goalkeeper Mark Bunn roars with delight as Norwich regain the lead
Al Habsi then produced a brilliant
one-handed save to turn away a bullet header from Snodgrass after
left-back Javier Garrido had lofted the ball to the far post.
Latics boss Roberto Martinez made a
double change for the second half as midfielders Maloney and David Jones
replaced Jordi Gomez and McCarthy.
It was Norwich, though, who again
showed an early threat as Grant Holt – making his 150th appearance –
drilled in an angled effort which Al Habsi palmed behind.
Hitman: Holt fires a shot towards goal, with Norwich on top of their opponents
Drive: Alexander Tettey launches a strike at Ali Al-Habsi's goal
Wigan were level on 51 minutes.
Arouna Kone carried the ball into the
left side of the Norwich penalty area, before he pulled a pass back to
the edge of the box where Maloney crashed his shot into the net.
The goal completely changed the
dynamic of the match as the hosts suddenly looked devoid of ideas and
uncomfortable in possession.
Norwich put some pressure on Wigan
again as the hour mark passed, but Holt could only send a scissors-kick
horribly wide from Snodgrass' floated ball to the far post.
Tussle: Jean Beausejour (right) and Norwich City's Robert Snodgrass battle for the ball
Go for it: Roberto Martinez urged his players on as they struggled
Referee Probert had been taking plenty
of flak from the home fans, but played a good advantage after Snodgrass
had been bodychecked and Norwich broke quickly down the left through
The former Huddersfield winger drove
on to the goalline, where he cut back inside Boyce before delivering a
teasing cross, which Hoolahan headed past Al Habsi on 64 minutes.
Norwich continued to ask questions of the visitors.
Good day: Chris Hughton (left) saw his side emerge triumphant with Hoolahan (right) in fine fettle
Hands on hips: Grant Holt watches on as ref Lee Probert blows his whistle
Johnson tested the Wigan goalkeeper
with a low effort from 20 yards, before Al Habsi produced another fine
save to deny Pilkington.
With seven minutes to go, Hoolahan was replaced by Jonny Howson and the diminutive midfielder left to a standing ovation.
Sebastian Bassong made a brilliant
last-ditch tackle to block Kone in stoppage time as Norwich closed out a
fifth straight home win – with Chelsea and Manchester City the next
visitors to Norfolk over the hectic festive schedule.