English Premiership

Hoolahan extends Canaries run

2012-12-15 19:40
Wes Hoolahan (AFP Photo)

Norwich - Wes Hoolahan scored the decisive goal in his return from injury here on Saturday to see Norwich to a 2-1 win in their Premier League game with struggling Wigan and extend their unbeaten run to 10 games.

Hoolahan, who came into the game rewarded for his good performances with a new contract, also set up Anthony Pilkington for the hosts' first goal - Wigan did pull level briefly through substitute Shaun Maloney.

Norwich's victory sees them in the heady position of seventh in the table and 10 points clear of the relegation places while defeat was Wigan's fifth in seven games and leaves them third from bottom and facing another hard battle to avoid relegation.

The hosts took the lead through Pilkington - scorer of the goal that sensationally beat Manchester United in November - after determined work by Hoolahan, who made an instant impact on returning from a groin injury.

Pilkington had an eventful first-half, getting booked soon after his goal for blatant diving and then missed a sitter when the usually reliable Ali Al Habsi flapped at the ball allowing it to drop at the striker's feet.

Al Habsi, though, had come to his side's rescue with a stunning save from former Leeds United star Robert Snodgrass's point blank header.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez brought on Maloney at half-time for James McCarthy, who had failed to recover from a brutal challenge by Bradley Johnson, and the former Celtic player rewarded his manager's choice by levelling.

It was a super effort as Maloney rifled the ball home after being set up by James McArthur.

However, the hosts restored their lead as Hoolahan crowned his comeback by heading past Al Habsi after being set up by Pilkington.

Al Habsi produced a save out of the top drawer when he got across to tip away Johnson's stinging drive from outside the box as the visitors came under increasing pressure.

The Omani international was to the fore again as with 15 minutes remaining he stretched out a hand to save Pilkington's screamer while Hoolahan departed to a deserved standing ovation when he was substituted late on.

Read more on:    norwich city  |  wigan  |  english premiership  |  soccer
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