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Norwich City 1-0 Wigan: Vrancic spot kick sends Canaries into the top six

Norwich City made it five straight wins with victory over Wigan at Carrow Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Norwich City made it five straight wins with victory over Wigan at Carrow Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Mario Vrancic’s late penalty earned Norwich City a fifth straight victory and took them into the Championship play-off places for the first time this season.

Vrancic slotted home just four minutes from time after Teemu Pukki was pulled back in the box, and the Bosnian international made the pressure penalty look easy.

The win meant City have clocked four successive Championship wins since the first international break of the campaign, as well as sealing a fourth-round Carabao Cup berth at Wycombe in midweek – in the process ending Wigan’s two-game winning streak.

With both sides naming unchanged starters from their previous Championship outings, it was City who endured a difficult opening period as their visitors made most of the first-half headway.

That said, Tim Krul was not called into much action – indeed it was Latics keeper Christian Walton who had to be at full stretch to palm away Marco Steipermann’s fine run and drive.

Centre-back Chey Dunkley could consider himself lucky midway through the opening half, as his poor back-pass left Teemu Pukki with a free run on goal. The defender’s lunge in the box to end the chance was deemed legal by referee Gavin Ward, who spent the rest of the game on the wrong end of the home crowd’s attention.

City had by far the better moments after the break.

Alex Tettey dragged a great shot wide of Walton’s far post after a neat set-up by Emi Buendia.

And Steipermann continued to feature heavily – drawing one superb block from Wigan captain Sam Morsy on the break, and seeing another chance end as he ran out of time to pull the trigger.

With Wigan failing to register a shot on target, it looked like City were going to fail to get what they deserved – until Pukki’s late foul and substitute Vrancic’s moment of coolness personified.

City (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons (Thompson 65), Zimmermann, Klose, Lewis; Tettey (c), Leitner; Buendía (Rhodes 76), Stiepermann, Cantwell (Vrancic); Pukki. Unused subs: McGovern, Godfrey, Trybull, Srbeny.

• Goals: Vrancic pen 86; Booked: Aarons

Wigan (4-4-2): Walton; James, Dunkley, Kipre, Robinson; Windass, Evans (Connolly 76), Morsy (c, Grigg 88), Jacobs; Powell, Garner (Gibson 68). Unused subs: Jones, Byrne, McManaman, Naismith.

• Booked: Windass, Walton, Gibson

• Referee: Gavin Ward; Attendance: 25,034

For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…

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