Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Sunday August 14 2011
Wigan Athletic and Norwich City shared the points on the opening day at the DW Stadium, the Canaries were full of effort, whilst the Latics just couldn't finish off their boisterous opponents. A Ben Watson penalty on 21 minutes was cancelled out by Wes Houlahan pouncing on a slip by Ali Al-Habsi on the stroke of half-time, though the Latics had the better and larger share of the chances they just couldn't grab another goal to seal the win
The game, which was typical of an early season encounter, mistakes, stray passes and quite a bit of tiredness late in the match, started brightly enough with both sides evidently looking for the three points.
Di Santo was busy up front for the Latics and after just two minutes of the game he was subject to a two footed lunge from Norwich player David Fox, who on another day might have seen red instead of the yellow card that referee Stuart Attwell produced.
It was Latics Argentine striker who won the penalty for the opening goal, robbing Norwich defender Ritchie De Laet of the ball on the half way line, Di Santo charged into the box, De Laet clipped the Latics players legs, down went Di Santo, penalty awarded.
Ben Watson stepped up and calmly placed his effort into the bottom left hand corner to give the Latics the lead that they just about deserved.
Victor Mosses was causing all sorts of problems down Latics left and Ben Watson was pulling the strings in midfield as the Latics looked to take control of the game, but with half-time fast approaching Norwich keeper released the ball quickly following a Latics attack, he sent Steve Morison away down the right, Adrian Lopez came over to challenge, Morison skipped past the Spaniard and then sent a low cross into the box, Al-Habsi appeared to gather the ball but fumbled and like a flash Norwich midfield man Wes Houlahan pounced to hammer home for the equaliser.
The second half saw the Latics dominate both possession and chances, Di Santo was unlucky with a glancing header that just whistled past the post, though there were a couple of occasions that resembled a comedy of errors in the Latics defence with Caldwell, Boyce and Lopez all suffering from a surprisingly hesitant looking Al-Habsi.
At the other end Moses should have scored following good work from substitute Conor Sammon who got the ball following a tangle with Norwich defender Barnett and goalkeeper Ruddy, his cross was met by Moses who shot from 8 yards only to see De Laet make a block.
Late on Watson hit the post with a great effort from 25 yards and Sammon headed over when well placed, a share of the points and a goal scored, not what the Latics faithful were really hoping for but so much better than last season's opening day debacle
Date:Sunday August 14 2011
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