Wigan grab vital point at Norwich
Wigan Athletic battled to a 1-1 draw at Norwich City, but it was not enough to lift them off the bottom of the Premier League. Wes Hoolahan clipped in Simeon Jackson's cross to put the Canaries in front after ten minutes. However, the Latics grew into the match and eventually netted a deserved equaliser through a well-taken finish by Victor Moses on 68 minutes.
Despite their recent dip in form, with successive league defeats following their FA Cup exit to Leicester, Norwich had impressed on their return to the top flight and could have climbed back up to eighth with victory. However, it was the visitors who started brightly.
On four minutes, Hugo Rodallega glanced a header wide after a deep cross from the left by Maynor Figueroa. Norwich slowly settled into possession, if without stretching the Wigan rearguard. The hosts went in front with their first meaningful attack on ten minutes.
Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi skewed his clearance straight out of play, with Adam Drury taking a quick throw which sent Jackson clear into the left side of the penalty area. The Canada forward floated a ball into the six-yard box, where Hoolahan got in between two defenders to hook the ball up into the far corner.
Norwich soon had Wigan pressed back again, with Jackson's darting run down the right, with the ball eventually out for a corner which was cleared. When Wigan did break through James McArthur, Rodallega carried the ball to the edge of the Norwich penalty area and set up Jean Beausejour on the overlap down the left, but his angled shot was straight at John Ruddy.
Even game throughout
The visitors were now controlling possession and fashioned their best opening on 26 minutes. Moses cut the ball back through the six-yard box, where Rodallega spun his marker and fired goalwards, but Ruddy was well placed to save. A long punt up-field suddenly released Grant Holt behind the Wigan backline on 33 minutes. The Norwich skipper turned back inside and fired the ball goalwards which struck Latics captain Gary Caldwell on the arm, but referee Kevin Friend was not interested.
Wigan continued to push Norwich on the defensive. Emerson Boyce got away down the right. His deflected cross flew over Ruddy and bounced off the top of the crossbar before being put behind. As half-time approached, Ruddy spilled Gomez's ambitious angled 25-yard drive, but Rodallega was unable to turn the loose ball in. The Norwich keeper then got lucky again after being unable to hold on to Rodallega's low strike, but gathered the ball just ahead of Moses.
Wigan were back on the offensive at the start of the second half, when Moses turned inside full-back Kyle Naughton and floated a ball across the six-yard box. At the other end, Holt then headed wide from Drury's left-wing cross. McCarthy played a neat one-two with Gomez and burst into the Norwich penalty area, but Ruddy got down well to save his low, first-time shot.
The let-off sparked Norwich into life, yet without really making progress in the final third. Wigan remained well on top with Wales striker Steve Morison, on for Holt, having to hack clear inside his own six-yard box. The Wales forward then suddenly burst clear down the right, cutting the ball back across goal where Antolin Alcaraz threw himself in front of Jackson to block.
Moses the saviour
Wigan netted a deserved equaliser on 68 minutes. Shaun Maloney slipped through Moses, who held off the Norwich defence to round Ruddy and slot home. Canaries boss Paul Lambert had needed to inject some new life into his side for some time, and finally did just that with an immediate double change when Andrew Surman and Crofts were replaced by wingers Elliott Bennett and Anthony Pilkington.
On 80 minutes, Alcaraz upended Jackson at the edge of the penalty area, and was shown a yellow card, despite calls for red from the home support. Pilkington curled the free-kick over the wall, but cleared the crossbar. Morison's header from a corner was then knocked off the line by Beausejour before Elliott Ward planted his header just wide.
Wigan almost snatched victory with four minutes left when Maloney broke down the left and crossed for substitute Mohamed Diame, who somehow put the ball over from six yards. Al Habsi then produced a brilliant one-handed save to keep out Morison's goalbound header as the Latics came away with a deserved point.