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Match Reports

Norwich City v Wigan Athletic

13 September 2016


CITY held off a resurgent Wigan Athletic to win 2-1 in their Sky Bet Championship meeting at Carrow Road.

Jacob Murphy's early double had Alex Neil's side in command of the contest, with the opener coming after just three minutes.

The failure to add game-settling third nearly caught them out, however, as Jordi Gomez scored to set up a frantic finale - but despite testing the nerves of their supporters they held on for maximum points for the second time in four days.

The Canaries couldn't have wished for a better opening to the contest as Murphy capitalised on a inexplicable error from Adam Bogdan - the Latics 'keeper failing to spot the youngster in his peripheral vision, with Murphy nicking the ball away and finishing into the empty net.

Even though City weren't exerting territorial dominance, Wigan were susceptible at the back and the hosts' first fluid move yielded their second on 11 minutes as Murphy nodded in off the line after Bogdan had kept out Wes Hoolahan's effort.

Hoolahan forced Bogdan into the low save before Michael McGovern was called into shotstopping duty for the first time to deny Alex Gilbey from 20 yards, but Wigan switch from high press to standing off was aiding the Canaries as their standing in the play steadily increased up to half-time.

Despite the advantage, Neil made two changes at half-time as Ivo Pinto - who had slipped awkwardly - and Alex Tettey were withdrawn for Ryan Bennett and Alex Pritchard.

The alterations to the eleven didn't stem City's momentum as Hoolahan and Russell Martin both went close to adding a third inside the first ten minutes of the second half.

Wigan came back into it with substitute Yanic Wildschut testing McGovern, but just when it looked as though Norwich had weathered the storm the visitors caught them on the counter-attack, with Gomez finishing neatly after Mulumbu had misplaced a pass in the attacking third.

It created a tense atmosphere as the match entered its final throes, with some last-ditch defending combining with some spurned chances to add a decisive third.

McGovern's save to deny Will Grigg proved to best Wigan's best chance, and City were grateful to hear the final whistle when it finally came after five minutes of added time.

The one change that Neil had mooted before the game happened as Martin Olsson conveniently returned from injury to replace Robbie Brady, who was an early casualty against Cardiff.

This allowed captain Martin to revert back to central defence alongside Timm Klose, with Jonny Howson continuing on the right wing.

Cameron Jerome, who has notched three goals already this season, led the attack - Wigan, meanwhile, made three changes from their 2-1 loss at Sheffield Wednesday.

Neil's men will often have to rely on an exquisite team move or a piece of individual magic to break deadlocks in the Sky Bet Championship this season - but they were gifted a headstart in this game.

Wigan looked in no danger at all when Bogdan collected possession in his own box, but a heavy touch and complete unawareness of Murphy's presence resulted in the home crowd celebrating the opener just three minutes in.

The goal relaxed the supporters, and even though Neil initially appeared angry that it seemed to relax his players too, it set his team up for victory before the Latics had even found their feet.

City might have made it hard for themselves but back-to-back wins leave them among the frontrunners as the league table begins to take shape.

Neil's pleasure at picking up six points from two winnable home matches will be offset by frustrations at aspects of the second half performances in both games.

One major highlight is the productivity of Murphy, who took his goal tally to four in all competitions with his brace.

GOALS: Canaries: Jacob Murphy (3, 11) - Latics: Jordi Gomez (72)

NORWICH CITY: McGovern; Pinto (Bennett 45), Martin (c), Klose, Olsson; Howson, Tettey (Pritchard 45), Dorrans, Ja. Murphy; Hoolahan (Mulumbu 68); Jerome. Subs not used: Ruddy (GK), Bassong, Lafferty, Jo. Murphy.

WIGAN ATHLETIC: Bogdan; Jacobs, Warnock (c), Power, Gilbey (Davies 85), Grigg, Burn, Burke (Byrne 56), MacDonald (Wildschut 54), Gomez, Buxton. Subs not used: Jaaskelainen (GK), Garbutt, Flores, Le Fondre.

REFEREE: Keith Stroud


City are back on the road this weekend for the trip to Nottingham Forest (Saturday, 3pm, City Ground).

Tickets for this game are sold out, but you can listen to live commentary wherever you are in the world with Canaries Player HD.

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