A spirited display by Wigan Athletic nearly gave them a deserved victory at Carrow Road. Bottom side Wigan created the majority of chances and were the dominant outfit in what was an entertaining end to end encounter.
Overall Wigan had 20 attempts on goal with the home side only managing 14. Wigan also dominated possession 55% to 45%, their dominance was particularly noticeable in the second half when they threatened to overrun their mid table opponents.
The game started in a cagey fashion with both sides seeming to be assessing the style of their opponents. But after only ten minutes it was Norwich who struck first after a poor piece of defending by Wigan captain Gary Caldwell. Simone Jackson crossed and Caldwell attempted to bring the ball under control rather than clear and Wes Hoolahan nipped in and hooked the ball over Ali Al Habsi.
Not an auspicious start for the Latics, but as the half progressed they started to gain more possession and created several clear opportunities. Jean Beausejour should have done better after being played in by Rodallega but his tame shot was easily saved by John Ruddy. Emmerson Boyce’s speculative cross hit the Norwich cross-bar and then Victor Moses crossed for Hugo Rodallega but the striker’s shot was too straight to beat the Norwich keeper.
Rodallega wasted another great chance when Ruddy spilled Jordi Gomez’s shot, and the Colombian’s shot was deflected over the bar from close range. Moses then had a chance when Rodallega’s shot was parried by Ruddy and the Nigerian international could not quite convert the rebound.
When the sides went in at half time there was a general feeling that Wigan were in the ascendency, but could they find the back of the net?
Early in the second half Grant Holt headed wide for Norwich before James McCarthy had a golden opportunity. After a neat one two with Jordi Gomez he surged into the Norwich penalty area but his shot went straight at keeper Ruddy.
However, the Wigan equaliser finally came when Victor Moses scored after a poor goal kick by Ruddy. Substitute Shaun Maloney, on for Gomez, played a defence splitting pass to Moses who rounded the keeper before slotting home.
As the game moved toward the final whistle there were chances at both ends. Elliot Ward had a header just wide of Al Habsi’s post and substitute Momo Diame, on for James McCarthy, should have scored after Maloney’s excellent cutback but he hit the ball into the ground and the ball bounced over the cross-bar.
The momentum continued when Jackson crossed for sub Steve Morison to head goal bound but Al Habsi produced a world-class save to deny the striker. Diame then powered into the box driving past several Norwich defenders but his shot was screwed wide of the far post.
Diame had made an instant impact, he must surely start next week against West Brom, his strength and power will make him an invaluable asset in the coming weeks.
Overall, the Latics performance was a huge improvement from last week, with both Rodallega and Moses looking lively upfront and the midfield pair of McCarthy and McArthur looking much more solid. Shaun Maloney was a revelation when he came on for Gomez, producing some neat passes and dangerous crosses. It is fair to say that if we can convert more of the chances we create our destiny will be in our own hands.
Wigan now have ten Cup Finals ahead, if we win six of these games we will stay up. It may be a tall order but this team certainly have the ability to do it.