Wigan fall to bottom of table despite point against Norwich
Wigan dropped back to the foot of the Sky Bet Championship despite continuing their unbeaten record under Shaun Maloney with a goalless draw against play-off chasing Norwich.
Having picked up five points from their opening three matches under the watchful eye of Maloney, Wigan started the match full of confidence and flew into their opponents.
They could have been three goals up inside the opening quarter of an hour.
First, Callum Lang got himself free through the right channel.
As Angus Gunn narrowed the angle, Lang tried to smash it through him and the goalkeeper got a bit lucky as the ball rebounded off him to relative safety.
Gunn was required again when Will Keane this time found himself clean through, the City stopper producing a fantastic save to deny Wigan’s top scorer.
James McClean had Wigan’s third chance but he could only drive the ball into the side-netting after good build-up play.
Norwich’s first real sight at goal saw Josh Sargent fire wide of Ben Amos’ far post.
But Wigan suffered a huge blow when Jack Whatmough – last season’s player of the year – limped off the field, just days after signing a new long-term contract.
Former England defender Steven Caulker came on in his place but Wigan didn’t let the change affect their rhythm.
Gunn made another fine save to deny Lang from distance, with Keane unable to get to the rebound.
The ball was at a difficult height, and Keane slipped as he tried to connect, but it was another decent chance the home side were unable to convert.
Fantastic chasing from Lang around the Norwich backline forced the error but Wigan couldn’t get it to the unmarked Ashley Fletcher in time for a shot.
The half ended with Gunn again coming to Norwich’s rescue after Lang shot into the ground and the ball looped towards the top corner before being tipped over.
Norwich would have been pleased to hear the half-time whistle and they were the first to threaten in the second period.
Grant Hanley got his head to Gabriel Sara’s right-wing corner and the ball flew just past Amos’ right-hand post.
The remainder of the contest gradually fizzled out as Wigan were unable to create the same volume of chances and Norwich – well below par – seemingly content to go home with a point.
A late Sara free-kick caused a bit of panic in the Wigan defence – which has conceded only one goal since Maloney took charge.
But the ball sailed through the box without a touch and the home side breathed a collective sigh of relief.
However, news of wins elsewhere for Huddersfield and Blackpool will have dampened Wigan’s positivity somewhat.