Lowe blow for Hartlepool

Norwich manager Chris Hughton insisted his side’s character was

crucial to bouncing back from their midweek defeat to Aston Villa

with a 2-1 win over Wigan.

Hughton admitted his side should have added to Anthony

Pilkington’s opener as they bossed the opening half, and Shaun

Maloney levelled the scores just after the break.

But a rare header from the diminutive Wes Hoolahan proved enough

to earn another three points for the Canaries.

“I’m really delighted because Wigan are a very good side and

play a similar system to Villa,” Hughton said. “They pass the ball

very well and when they got their equaliser early in the second

half we had to show great character.

“We had to get back in the game and make sure that we had a good

period ourselves, and I think we weathered it a little bit and came

strong.

“Certainly over the game we had the better chances, and should

have really made it a bit more comfortable for ourselves.

“We had really good opportunities to be further ahead at

half-time. Their goalkeeper had to make a couple of very good

saves, but Wigan showed why they continue to be in this

division.

They pass the ball very well, they have a system of playing that

gets them in the opposition’s final third, and they have got

quality. We had to match that today.

“I thought we were very, very good at times. Yes we could have

made it better for ourselves in that first half, but that’s the

game. Then we had to get back into it, but in the end I think we

got a deserved winner. It wrapped up a really good performance from

us.”

The 34-year-old striker placed a precise side-footed volley into

the corner of the net early on to lift the Dons to within two

points of top spot and leave hapless Pools without a win in 21

games.

Milton Keynes dominated the first half and the unmarked Lowe put

them ahead on the quarter-of-an-hour mark, tucking Darren Potter’s

cross past Scott Flinders as the Pools defence appealed in vain for

offside.

Flinders then brilliantly denied Angelo Balanta and Luke

Chadwick, while Dean Lewington curled a free-kick just wide and

Shaun Williams had a headed goal ruled out for a shove.

Hartlepool rarely threatened in the first half but Jonathan

Franks wasted a rare opportunity when he raced onto Jack Baldwin’s

long punt but could only lob straight at keeper David Martin.

Pools improved after the break and Charlie Wyke had a fierce

drive beaten out by Martin and Steve Howard nodded a decent chance

straight at the keeper.

But the Dons regained control and Chadwick had a low strike well

saved by Flinders, while Potter drilled a shot narrowly wide and

then blasted another effort against the crossbar at the death.