Norwich extend 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 Carrow Road until summer 2015, headed the
winner from close range to give the Canaries a deserved three
points.

The win extended the Canaries’ unbeaten run to ten Premier
League games, their longest sequence without defeat in the
top-flight since March 1987.

After a cagey opening, the game sprang into like thanks with
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 from close range.

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 these 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.