Wigan Athletic 1, Norwich City 0
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
A late winning goal by Wigan striker Arouna Kone stopped Norwich City edging a point closer to Premier League survival at the DW Stadium.
The Canaries looked on course for their 14th draw of the season until Ivory Coast international Kone struck nine minutes from time with a powerful drive that keeper Lee Camp was unable to keep out.
City had plenty of possession, especially in the first half, but could have no real complaints after failing to create enough clear-cut openings in an end-to-end contest.
Perennial relegation battlers Wigan began to threaten more in the second period when Jonny Howson cleared a goalbound header by Antolin Alcaraz and Michael Turner blocked a Jordi Gomez drive, before Kone struck the decisive goal, his 12th of the season, from a Gomez pass after a mix-up between Wes Hoolahan and Howson. Camp might have done better with the shot on a day when he was looking to impress after replacing the suspended Mark Bunn.
The result put Wigan four points behind Norwich with a game in hand and left the Canaries still with work to do to secure their top-flight place, having won only one league game since beating the Latics at Carrow Road in December.
The City starting eleven showed one change from the 1-1 draw at Sunderland with Camp in goal in place of the suspended Bunn, sent off at the Stadium of Light.
Russell Martin recovered from the hamstring problem that forced him to withdraw from the Scotland squad and kept his place.
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Midfielder Alex Tettey was back on the bench after missing four games with a knee injury, Marc Tierney was named among the substitutes with Ryan Bennett absent after the birth of his second son, and 20-year-old Jed Steer was included as substitute goalkeeper.
Wigan fielded an unchanged eleven after the 2-1 home win over Newcastle with Callum McManaman, the centre of controversy in that game for his challenge on Massadio Haidara, shaking off an ankle injury to keep his place.
A cross from Beausojour threatened danger for City in the third minute and Garrido had to concede a corner, which was cleared and the ball eventually brought away by Snodgrass.
Scharner was booked by referee Webb on nine minutes for a foul on Snodgrass, though he appeared to go down rather theatrically, bringing a free-kick on the left-hand corner of the penalty area. The kick was rolled to Elliott Bennett, whose powerful effort was deflected wide for a corner. Snodgrass took it but despite Martin getting his head to it and Bassong nodding it on, Wigan were able to clear.
The Canaries, in their all-black kit, were enjoying the better of possession and one swift counter-attack gave Snodgrass the chance to cross from the left, Scharner having to head clear in the six-yard box.
McManaman was penalised for a foul on Garrido, which brought boos from the home crowd, and there seemed little wrong with the challenge.
Elliott Bennett won another corner, which was cleared as far as Snodgrass, but when he picked out Bassong on the left, the defender's shot was so wayward it went out for a throw-in.
Howson conceded a corner when he cut out a cross from Gomez. Beausejour's kick was flicked on by McManaman but City broke quickly, only for Bennett to slice a long-range effort well wide.
Bassong's timely challenge prevented Kone cashing in on a one-two as Wigan tried to pick their way through the Norwich defence.
A foul by McCarthy on Hoolahan gave City another free-kick on the left edge of the area, but Garrido failed to get it past the first defender.
Wigan had the best opening yet on 27 minutes when Maloney and Boyce combined neatly to give Kone the chance to test Camp, but he rolled his shot a couple of feet wide.
Kamara brought goalkeeper Robles into action with a gentle header after Johnson had hooked the ball across goal, but the flag was already up for offside.
McManaman completely miskicked as a cross from Beausejour came in, much to Norwich's relief, and at the other end Alcaraz made a timely tackle on Kamara to stop him capitalising on a Hoolahan flick.
Camp dived to his right to keep out another Kone shot, but failed to hold on to it, and must have been relieved to see the offside flag go up as Maloney retrieved the loose ball.
Kone had another shot deflected wide by Bassong as he let fly from 20 yards, and in a lively spell of play at both ends, Alcaraz made a vital headed clearance to stop Kamara getting on the end of a Garrido centre.
There were appeals for a penalty four minutes from the break when Beausejour's cross appeared to hit Russell Martin's hand, and as City broke quickly, Kamara needed attention after being caught on the knee in a collision with Gomez. The official had waved play on at the time, but Kone ruined a promising position with a wild slice into the crowd.
• Half-time - Wigan Athletic 0, Norwich City 0.
Elliott Bennett took a bang on the face courtesy of Gomez's knee early in the second period, an accidental contact, but thankfully he was able to carry on after brief attention.
Bennett, however, was booked for a trip of McCarthy, City's first yellow card of the afternoon.
Wigan forced two corners in quick succession as the home crowd began to come to life but from the second, Maloney played it short and took a return pass before firing very high and wide.
City perked up and Figueroa just managed to stop Bennett getting in a shot from Hoolahan's pass, then Johnson flashed a left-foot shot just wide after a one-two with Hoolahan.
With 64 minutes gone, Kamara had a better chance than he realised when he planted a header wide from a Snodgrass cross, but City were quickly on the back foot as Martin conceded another corner. Maloney's kick was poor and after Norwich cleared, Figeuroa put a wild effort into the crowd.
Garrido had to be alert to stop Gomez getting in a shot and from the resulting corner by Beausejour, Howson cleared off the line from an Alcaraz header.
Another Snodgrass cross threatened to produce something, but Bassong and Turner both failed to connect with the centre and finished in a heap in the penalty area.
Garrido squandered a good opening when he raced on to a Snodgrass pass but his touch let him down as he lost possession and Wigan almost made him pay moments later when McCarthy cracked a right-foot shot just wide from the edge of the box.
There was an escape for City when Beausejour lost two black shirts and gave Gomez the chance to shoot, but his goalbound effort was blocked by Turner.
With 10 minutes left, Holt replaced Kamara in Norwich's first change.
But the Canaries were rocked with nine minutes left when Kone struck his 12th goal of the season to put Wigan ahead.
A mix-up between Hoolahan and Howson gave Wigan possession and a fine pass by Gomez sent Kone clear, and he rasped in a right-foot drive that keeper Camp got his left hand to but could not keep out.
With five minutes left, there was a double change as Tettey and Becchio replaced Howson and Hoolahan.
Holt was shown the yellow card for dissent as time ticked away.
In stoppage time, Snodgrass had a shot blocked before Di Santo replaced Kone.
• Wigan Athletic: Robles; Scharner, Alcaraz, Figueroa; Boyce, McCarthy, Gomez, Beausejour; McManaman (McArthur, 67), Kone (Di Santo, 90), Maloney. Subs (not used): Al Habsi, Caldwell, Espinoza, Stam, Henriquez.
• Norwich City: Camp; Russell Martin, Turner, Bassong, Garrido; Howson (Tettey, 85), Johnson; Elliott Bennett, Hoolahan (Becchio, 85), Snodgrass; Kamara (Holt, 80). Subs (not used): Steer, Whittaker, Tierney, Fox.
• Referee: Howard Webb (South Yorkshire)
• Goals: Wigan: Kone (81)
• Bookings: Wigan: Scharner (9). City: Elliott Bennett (55), Holt (87)
• Attendance: 17,784