Latics took an early lead courtesy of a Ben Watson spot kick after Franco Di Santo had been brought down in the area but that was all undone in first half stoppage time with a Wes Hoolahan equaliser for the visitors.

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE – DW STADIUM – Saturday August 13th 2011
Watson 21 (pen)
Hoolahan 45

Norwich City earned a point upon their return to the Premier League following a 1-1 draw with Wigan on Saturday.

The Canaries fell behind on 21 minutes as Ritchie De Laet hauled Franco di Santo to the ground to gift Wigan a penalty, which Ben Watson emphatically dispatched.

To their credit, Norwich failed to let the setback get the better of them, and were worthy of their equaliser on the stroke of half-time, with Wes Hoolahan thumping home following an Ali Al Habsi error.

Victor Moses put in a spirited display as Wigan threatened to take the lead once more after the restart, but the visitors were not without their own chances to find a winner.

Watson almost won it late on with a shot which struck the woodwork and Moses and Hugo Rodallega also went close in the dying moments.

A lack of cutting edge up front prevented either side from a netting a second goal, however, with a draw a fair reflection on events at the DW Stadium.


Summer signings Steve Morison and De Laet made their competitive debuts for the Norfolk club, who were back playing top-flight football after a six-year absence.

Meanwhile, Latics boss Roberto Martinez named one new arrival, David Jones, on the bench alongside forward Rodallega, who had returned to training late after his involvement in the Copa America with Colombia.

Moses and Di Santo led the attack, while midfielder James McCarthy was fit to start despite a recent ankle problem.

After seeing his team suffer a 4-0 hammering at home against Blackpool on the first day of last season, Martinez was all too aware that Premier League new boys should not be underestimated.

And Norwich certainly made their presence felt in the opening seconds when David Fox lunged in on Di Santo, picking up a booking.

Emmerson Boyce and Moses had chances as the hosts started brightly, but Norwich almost carved an opening when Morison cut the ball back for Hoolahan, who scuffed his attempt off-target.

Moments later, though, Wigan had the lead after Di Santo dispossessed De Laet. Looking to make amends, the Belgian chased his man into the box but brought Di Santo down to give away a penalty, which Watson converted into the bottom corner.

Norwich gave the ball away again just before the half-hour mark as Mohamed Diame pounced on an error by Whitbread, but the Latics midfielder then tried to lob goalkeeper John Ruddy from a few yards past the halfway line and lacked accuracy.

The lively Moses, who had impressed in pre-season, caused the Canaries problems again with a snapshot that Ruddy got down to save.

Wigan looked set to go in a goal up at the break – but just before the interval it was 1-1 in the 45th minute when Al Habsi spilled Morison’s cross and Hoolahan was on hand to level.

Soon after, Di Santo went down in the area under a challenge by Russell Martin but play continued, and the striker headed over the bar after connecting with Moses’ cross.

Second half

The tempo did not let up as the second half got under way, with Di Santo heading just wide and Andrew Crofts blasting over at the other end.

Eight minutes after the restart Martinez adjusted his forward line by substituting Jordi Gomez and Di Santo for Rodallega and Conor Sammon, who was then just beaten by the outrushing Ruddy to a ball over the top from Moses.

Moses was unfortunate to lose his footing before he could get a shot away after a mazy dribble past a host of yellow shirts, and Ruddy just managed to get his hands on a shot from Rodallega.

A mix-up between Al Habsi and Adrian Lopez, who was sporting a head bandage after colliding with Morison earlier in the game, saw Wigan give away an indirect free-kick and it was tapped to Andrew Surman, who bent the ball over the bar.

Sammon headed over before Norwich brought on Leon Barnett for Whitbread with a little under 20 minutes to go.

Debutants Elliot Bennett and Anthony Pilkington followed soon after for Surman and Morison.

A counter-attack saw Norwich surge forward but Grant Holt could not keep his header down before the battle-weary Lopez came off for Ronnie Stam.

Watson almost won it with five minutes remaining but his effort came back off the post, and Moses and Rodallega then had shots blocked by some last-ditch defending as Norwich hung on for the draw.

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)
Attendance: 17,454
26 Ali Al Habsi 1 John Ruddy
17 Emmerson Boyce 2 Russell Martin
24 Adrian Lopez 6 Zak Whitbread
5 Gary Caldwell 24 Ritchie de Laet
31 Maynor Figueroa 23 Mark Tierney
21 Mohamed Diame 15 David Fox
8 Ben Watson 11 Andrew Surman
14 Jordi Gomez 14 Wes Hoolahan
4 James McCarthy 7 Andrew Crofts
11 Victor Moses 9 Grant Holt
9 Franco Di Santo 5 Steve Morison
12 Mike Pollitt 13 Declan Rudd
6 Hendry Thomas 4 Bradley Johnson
16 James McArthur 10 Simeon Jackson
18 Conor Sammon 12 Anthony Pilkington
19 David Jones 17 Elliott Bennett
20 Hugo Rodallega 20 Leon Barnett
23 Ronnie Stam 25 Kyle Naughton
1′ Yellow Card David Fox
21′ GoalBen Watson (pen)
45′ GoalWes Hoolahan
53′ Player OffJordi Gomez
Player OnHugo Rodallega
53′ Player OffFrano Di Santo
Player OnConor Sammon
71′ Player OffLeon Barnett
Player OnZak Whitbread
72′ Yellow Card Steve Morison
75′ Player OffSteve Morison
Player OnAnthony Pilkington
75′ Player OffAndrew Surman
Player OnElliott Bennett
82′ Player OffAdrian Lopez
Player OnRonnie Stam
84′ Yellow Card Mohamed Diame
85′ Yellow Card Ben Watson