Wasteful Wigan running out of escape routes

Norwich City 1 Wigan Athletic 1

Carrow Road

Former Wigan players Matt Jackson – who also defended resolutely for Norwich from 1996 to 2001 – and Neill Rimmer made the 250-mile trip from Lancashire for this fixture by bicycle, in the name of charity. Roberto Martinez's current Wigan team will need to show similar rugged devotion to a cause – and perhaps a sprint finish worthy of Mark Cavendish – if they are to prolong the club's Premier League adventure into an eighth season.

They had an opportunity yesterday to rise from the foot of the table at the expense of Wolves; that they failed to take it was due to the poor finishing that has let them down all season. Their top scorers, Jordi Gomez and Franco di Santo, have just four goals each to their names – and yesterday's lone striker Hugo Rodallega a mere two. This explains in a nutshell why a team capable of so dominating a game with fluid football, as they did here, are nonetheless in such trouble.

As their manager, Martinez, admitted: "We can't show that bit of composure in front of goal. For any team, goalscoring ability is important to get points. Clearly it was a good performance by us, we played really well, but we have only one point.

"The belief is always there [that we can avoid relegation]. We don't play like a team bottom of the league and that makes me proud. We can compete against any team in the league."

They certainly competed at Norwich, where they made, and squandered, enough chances not only to have taken all the points, but to have improved their goal difference significantly in the process. But in the end they had a flying one-handed save by their goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi, from a header by Norwich substitute Steve Morison, to thank for preserving even the one point they had worked so hard to earn.

Al-Habsi made a horrible start, however, when his sliced clearance into touch enabled Norwich to score with their first attempt in the 10th minute. From the quickly taken throw-in, Simeon Jackson lifted a simple cross for Wes Hoolahan to dink a skilful near-post volley over the goalkeeper into the far corner.

Wigan could desperately have done with finishing of such confidence and quality. The recalled Rodallega had already allowed two good chances go past when, three minutes before half-time, the Colombian scooped the ball high over the crossbar from six yards, after Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy had spilled a shot from Gomez. In time added at the end of the half, Ruddy was again unable to hold a thumping shot, this time from Rodallega, but recovered just in time to prevent Victor Moses from cashing in.

"Unfortunately for Hugo, this has been his kind of season," Martinez said of his striker.

Similar service resumed after the interval, Ruddy saving a shot from the impressively forward-bursting James McCarthy by the unorthodox expedient of sitting on it.

The Latics at last got the reward they so richly deserved after 68 minutes when Moses ran onto a through-ball from Shaun Maloney and went round Ruddy to score.

At the close, the game became frantic and, as Norwich manager Paul Lambert said: "We could have won it at the end, we could have lost it at the end."

Mohamed Diame had been on the field barely a minute when he arrived at pace to meet a centre from fellow substitute Maloney, only to volley it high. And, as chances came and went at both ends in the breathless finale, Al-Habsi made the best save of the game by far from Morison's six-yard header.

Match details

Norwich: RUDDY 6; NAUGHTON 5; WARD 6; WHITBREAD 7; DRURY 6; CROFTS 5; FOX 7; SURMAN 5; HOOLAHAN 6; HOLT 5; JACKSON 6

Wigan: AL HABSI 6; FIGUEROA 6; CALDWELL 6; ALCARAZ 5; BEAUSEJOUR 6; McARTHUR 5; McCARTHY 6; BOYCE 6; MOSES 7; GOMEZ 6; RODALLEGA 6

Substitutes: Norwich Morison 5 (Holt, 59), E Bennett 5 (Crofts, 69), Pilkington (Surman, 70). Wigan Maloney 6 (Gomez, 56 ), Diame (McCarthy, 85). Booked: Norwich Holt, Hoolahan, Whitbread, Drury. Wigan McCarthy, Moses, Alcaraz, McArthur. Man of the match Whitbread. Match rating 6/10. Possession: Norwich 45% Wigan55%. Attempts on target: Norwich 6 Wigan9. Referee K Friend (Leicestershire). Attendance 26,653

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created