Wigan striker Kone’s late goal drags Norwich City down into the Premier League relegation battle

Shaun Maloney and James McArthur celebrate Wigan's winner as goalscorer Arouna Kone runs away in cel

Shaun Maloney and James McArthur celebrate Wigan's winner as goalscorer Arouna Kone runs away in celebration. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City were beaten 1-0 by Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Saturday. Neither side dominated, either side could have won, and City had the lion’s share of the possession but Wigan probably deserved their victory by virtue of the urgency of their play in the last 20 minutes of the game.

After the international break, the Canaries, playing in all black, made one change from the side that had battled to hold on for a point at Sunderland last time out. That was the enforced change in goal. Bunn was banned for this game following his red card at Sunderland, and so Lee Camp made his full debut in the Norwich goal. City’s first chances fell to Elliott Bennett, who shot was deflected, and to Bassong from the resulting corner. The same players Bennett and Bassong had further half chances as the half went on but failed to seriously trouble the Wigan keeper. Not the most exciting fare to set before the watching Gordon Strachan, Scotland’s manager, but Norwich certainly had more possession in the first half. It was disappointing that they had not been able to turn this into shots on target.

It was even-stevens at half-time and for the opening period in the second half. Bennett was booked just after half-time, and Kamara headed wide. Just as the game seemed to be heading for a draw, with 20 minutes to go the Latics suddenly woke up. Howson had to clear Alcaraz’s header off the line, and McCarthy shot just wide. Turner brilliantly blocked a shot from Gomez. Holt replaced Kamara after 80 minutes, but Wigan scored the goal they had been threatening two minutes afterwards. Following what seemed to be a mix-up between referee Webb, Hoolahan and Howson, Kone ran on to a precision pass from Gomez and beat Camp, who might have done better; the ball appeared to slip through his arms. Holt was booked presumably for dissent. With minutes remaining Hughton sent on Tettey for Howson and Becchio for Hoolahan, but to no avail. Again it was a case of too little too late.

This result drags the Canaries right into the thick of the Premier League relegation dogfight, with seven games to go. Even if by some miracle three teams do manage to finish below us (which would be quite an achievement on their part), and we therefore manage to stay up, serious questions have to be asked about the players and management who have managed to win but one of the last 14 League games, were unable to muster a single shot on target against one of the Premier League’s weaker teams (who had not previously managed to keep a clean sheet at home all season). At this rate we cannot expect to record another win until October. The words NOT GOOD ENOUGH spring to mind.

The manager was quite rightly slated on Canary Call and on the Pink Un message board after the match. Why does he persist in playing one sole isolated attacker against weak teams? Is he perhaps unaware that three points are awarded for a win? Only four teams have a worst goal difference than Norwich City this season. Only seven teams have conceded more goals than us this season and only two have scored fewer goals. I have already renewed my season ticket for next season, and whichever division we play in I shall be looking for changes in personnel in the team and in the management’s tactics. Those home games against Swansea, Reading, West Brom, and Villa are now of critical importance. We have taken points from all bar three of our home games this season. I am an eternal optimist. Come on you yellows!

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