Wigan Athletic 1, Norwich City 1

Norwich City's Premier League journey started with a well earned point at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon thanks to Wes Hoolahan's close range strike on the stroke of half time.

Wigan took the lead midway through the first half from the penalty spot after Ritchie De Laet had brought down Franco Di Santo inside the area and Ben Watson blasted home.

But Norwich kept their composure and it was rewarded in injury time at the end of the first period. Steve Morison skipped past Adrian Lopez down the right wing and Ali Al Habsi could only parry his cross into the path of Hoolahan, who rifled home from eight yards.

Wigan piled on the pressure in the closing stages but, thanks to some excellent last-ditch defending by De Laet, both Victor Moses and Hugo Rodallega were denied.

Manager Paul Lambert will be heartened by the display of his side with Morison in particular a constant threat to the Wigan back line while Hoolahan posed a threat all afternoon.


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David Fox looked to put his mark on the game in the first 30 seconds with a crunching tackle on Franco Di Santo and referee Stuart Attwell wasted little time in getting the yellow card out of his pocket.

But City looked at home in the early stages, enjoying the majority of the possession without offering much threat. A clash of heads between Morison and Adrian Lopez in the fifth minute resulted in both leaving the field for medical attention.

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The Canaries' striker returned soon after although Wigan played the next 15 minutes with 10 men before Lopez returned with a head bandage.

Just as Lopez re-entered the fray City went a goal down and it was all of their own making. De Laet was caught in possession by Di Santo 40 yards from goal and the Argentinian striker was through on goal.

In trying to make up for his mistake, De Laet made a rash challenge inside the area and Attwell pointed to the spot with little complaint from the Belgian's team-mates.

Watson calmly drilled the penalty home to Ruddy's right and suddenly the Canaries had a mountain to climb.

Wigan could sense that Norwich were rocking and Moses looked threatening down the right hand side despite the best efforts of Russell Martin and Andrew Crofts. Rudd had to be down quickly to save smartly after a snapshot from the lively former Crystal Palace winger.

Whitbread was also caught hesitating in possession by Diame in what was almost a carbon copy of the De Laet incident but the Wigan man failed to keep his composure and his long range effort sailed harmlessly over the bar when he had a clear path to goal.

But as the half wore on Norwich gained a foothold and they were almost on terms in the 38th minute as Fox's delicious in-swing free kick into the Wigan penalty area just needed a touch from a Norwich player but neither De Laet nor Holt could oblige.

But in injury time at the end of the first half the moment 4,500 travelling Norwich fans had been waiting for arrived thanks to Hoolahan.

Great work by Morison down the right flank saw him ghost past Lopez and his fierce cross was fumbled by Al-Habsi and Hoolahan was on hand to slam home into the roof of the net.

It was nothing more than Norwich deserved with both sides looking evenly matched in a lively first period.

Within a minute of the restart City could have found themselves in front after yet more good work by Morison. Hoolahan released the former Millwall man down the left and he advanced towards the Wigan penalty area before laying the ball off to Surman, but his shot was going well wide before it hit Holt when he really should have hit the target.

City had De Laet to be thankful to shortly afterwards after a storming run by Diame saw him go through challenges from Surman and Whitbread but the Manchester United man was on the cover to snuff out any danger.

However, Di Santo came within inches of giving the Latics the lead after a good cross by Figueroa but his header drifted just wide with Ruddy beaten.

Moses was also still looking threatening for the home side and he almost capitalised on a poor pass out of defence from Surman. He proceeded to go on a jinking run past at least four City players but just as he was about to pull the trigger Whitbread cleared.

Norwich were more than holding their own however, with Morison in particular leading from the front. His presence forced a defensive mix-up between Lopez and Al-Habsi, which resulted in the goalkeeper picking up a backpass. However, Surman's effort from a tight angle went just over the bar.

Emmerson Boyce was lucky to get away with a disastrous clearing header, which almost presented the ball straight to Morison in the six-yard area but the ball arrived at the striker too quickly for him to gain control.

The introductions of Anthony Pilkington and Elliott Bennett gave City more width and the latter almost carved a winner for Holt with a pinpoint cross to the back post but the Norwich skipper headed over the bar.

Watson came within a whisker of snatching all three points for the home side five minutes from time but his smart 20-yard strike with the outside of his foot struck the foot of Ruddy's right-hand post.

A mix-up between Leon Barnett and Ruddy almost spelled disaster at the back but De Laet was once again on hand to deny efforts from Moses and Rodallega.

• Wigan Athletic (4-5-1): Al Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell, Lopez (Stam, 82), Fiegueroa, Watson, Diame, McCarthy, Gomez (Rodallega, 53), Moses, Di Santo (Sammon, 53). Subs not used: Pollitt, Thomas, McArthur, Jones.

• Norwich City: (4-4-2): Ruddy, R Martin, De Laet, Whitbread (Barnett, 71), Tierney, Fox, Crofts, Surman (Bennett, 75), Hoolahan, Morison (Pilkington, 75), Holt. Subs not used: Rudd, Jackson, Johnson, Naughton.

• Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)

• Attendace: 17,454

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