Carrow Road continuing to bring the best out of Ireland-bound Anthony Pilkington and Norwich City
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The home comforts show no sign of easing up for either Anthony Pilkington or Norwich City.
The 24-year-old winger’s third goal in three Premier League matches at Carrow Road was a sure sign of how settled Pilkington is with his Norwich City surroundings at the moment – a 15th minute pile-driver against Wigan that goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi could reach but do nothing to stop smashing into the net.
He could have had more; Al Habsi’s superb strong arm to deflect a second-half replica among a string of fine saves from the Oman stopper.
But despite the odd scare, Norwich saw things through for their fifth successive home league success of term – only West Bromwich Albion and the two Manchester clubs have won more on their own turf so far this season.
“We’ve got a good return of points at this point in the season and we are delighted, we’ve kept the unbeaten run going in the league,” said Pilkington, as City extended their club Premier League record unbeaten run to 10 matches.
“It’s not down to us doing anything in particular. We always knew we could pick up points and we could turn this place into a bit of a fortress. I think that’s now five wins here on the bounce, so it’s really good for the fans as well.
“I’m enjoying it. The fans really get behind us. Yes Wigan could have scored an equaliser and we would have liked to have been a bit tighter than we actually were. We had a few chances. I had a half-chance where the keeper has spilled it and I was diving in, and another that was a good save in the second half.
“But we got the three points and that’s the main thing. It was disappointing on Tuesday (the League Cup defeat to Aston Villa) and we bounced back today just how we wanted to. It’s a massive three points for us.”
All was well that ended well for Pilkington – but the start was a little more tense.
Even before kick-off the winger was left exasperated at being told to use yellow tape to cover up the rather fetching white and black polka dots showing over his socks, missing the opening exchanges of the game in the process.
And referee Lee Probert did not endear himself to Pilkington much more as the game wore on, booking him for a first-half ‘dive’ after pushing the ball past Adrian Lopez.
“The referee said there was contact but it was the way I went down, so I don’t know what he wants me to do or the way he wants me to go down – maybe he wants me to go down like a sack of spuds and go straight to the ground?” said Pilkington.
“I don’t know, it’s just a silly one. There has been a lot made of diving over the last few weeks but it’s up to the ref. He has got a tough job to do and he thought it was a dive, where as I thought it was a little bit harsh.
“I didn’t even start the game – I was on the sidelines when it started, but luckily I got back on the pitch and scored a goal and set one up.
“We got a massive win and that’s what we are going to be talking about. We go on to next week full of confidence. It’s a tough Christmas period coming up and we have picked up some really good points going into that.”
Pilkington’s performance came in front of Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli and off the back of news the Norwich star has inched closer to becoming a full international for the Emerald Isle.
“Yes, I’ve had a call off them and I’m just sorting out the papers at the moment,” added Pilkington. “So it depends what happens with the next game, which I think is February. I’ve just got to sort the papers out and take it from there.
“My grandma originates from Ireland – she’s from Dublin – so I’m more than happy to play for them if selected.”