Sunday, 31 March 2013

Latics 1-0 Norwich - Kone to the Rescue

Arouna Kone was once again the hero after his late winner lifted the Latics out of the drop zone and increased the pressure on the teams just above them as they secured back to back league wins.
A dull affair was decided with only nine minutes left when Jordi Gomez played in Kone, who fired delightfully past stand in Canaries keeper Lee Camp.
Arouna Kone
The Ivorian followed up his last gasp winner versus Newcastle before the international break with his 10th league goal of the season and he looks set to break Henri Camara’s Latics top flight record of twelve goals.

The visitors started the brighter of the two sides, with the returning international Latics unable to settle into a rhythm, and they looked set to continue their wretched run of having not won following an international break.  

Paul Scharner was cautioned very early on when he brought down the tricky Robert Snodgrass, but the Canaries were unable to capitalize from the resulting set piece.  

The Latics gradually found their passing game as the opening half came to a close with Callum McMannaman miscuing and Kone unable to direct an effort on target.  

Antolin Alcaraz was excellent all afternoon, nullifying the Canaries attacking threat and he provided essential cover on a number of occasions for an erratic Scharner.  

The frustration for the home fans continued well into the second period as Martinez’s men were unable to create much despite sustained periods of possession. With only 20 minutes left to play the home side cranked up the pressure on their visitors, with first Alcaraz going close with a header and then James McCarthy going close from distance.  

Michael Turner sensationally blocked Gomez’s effort inside his own six yard box as Chris Hughton’s men looked as if they would secure their fourteenth draw of the season.  

Despite poor service all afternoon Kone was still alive to the play and was the grateful recipient of Gomez’s delightful through ball after a mix-up involving referee Howard Webb. Keeper Camp will perhaps feel he should have done better with the arrowed effort on his first full league start for the Canaries. 
Antolin Alcaraz
The visitors failed to test Joel Robles and didn't register an effort on target all afternoon, as the Latics finally picked up their first  home clean sheet of the season.

His goal was nothing more than Kone deserved, and as he made way in added on time for Franco Di Santo he soaked up the applause of the adoring DW.  

It was a difficult watch for many but the fact that his side were able to come out on top without being at the best in an attacking sense was a huge positive for Martinez who spoke after the game: “I don’t think we were stylish as we normally are, but what we showed is incredible character. Every player found a way to help keep Norwich very quiet.” 

The Spaniard went on to praise his lone front man: “It was that little but of quality at the other end that decided it. Just as it seemed it wouldn’t quite fall for us, the ball from Jordi Gomez was fantastic, a clinical ball, and the finish from Arouna Kone was just what he deserved for his work ethic.”

Kone was the focal point of everything that the Latics did well today and he is going to be the key man for Wigan, as they prepare for three consecutive trips to the capital, before they next take to the field at DW against Spurs at the end of April. 

The month kicks off with the league game at QPR before the historic Wembley FA Cup Semi Final with Millwall rounded off with the trip to West Ham.

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