Norwich 1-0 Wigan: Mario Vrancic scores late penalty winner for Canaries
Mario Vrancic scores late penalty as Norwich squeeze past Wigan
Last Updated: 29/09/18 6:55pm
Norwich maintained their rapid climb up the Championship table as they beat Wigan 1-0 at Carrow Road to make it four straight wins - and five in all competitions.
The Canaries have been making a habit of coming through tight matches with all three points and did it again as an 86th-minute penalty from substitute Mario Vrancic settled the game.
Wigan were angry with the decision to award a spot-kick after Josh Windass had tangled with Teemu Pukki but could have few complaints about the result, having failed to register an effort on target all afternoon.
Norwich had marginally the better of a disappointing first half and had decent claims for a penalty turned down after 23 minutes.
In-form frontman Pukki found himself clear on goal after an under-hit backpass from Chey Dunkley and as he prepared to shoot he appeared to be brought down by the back-tracking defender.
But referee Gavin Ward decided the Wigan man had won the ball fairly and waved play on, much to the fury of the home crowd.
A couple of minutes earlier Marco Stiepermann had brought a good save out of Christian Walton after cutting in from the right, while Dunkley later produced a superb block to keep out a goal-bound strike from Emi Buendia as the Canaries gradually found their feet after a pedestrian opening quarter.
The Latics rarely threatened in the first half, although Dunkley should have done better with a free header from a corner just before the break.
Norwich quickly picked up the pace after the interval and Stiepermann tested Walton again win a low curler from just outside the box while at the other end Windass sent a shot high and wide as the game continued to ebb and flow.
As the game passed the hour mark Norwich midfielder Alex Tettey dragged a shot wide from a decent position and it needed a well-timed tackle from Sam Morsy to deny Stiepermann as he prepared to shoot after being set up by Pukki.
The Canaries were looking the more likely side to break the deadlock and a glorious pass from substitute Vrancic gave Stiepermann a run on goal but the German midfielder delayed his shot too long and the chance was wasted.
The big opportunity finally arrived five minutes from time when Windass tugged back Pukki in the box as he prepared to lay off the ball and Vrancic made no mistake from the spot to ear the home side three points.
Daniel Farke: "It was a close game, and a very hard-fought one, but I thought there was no doubt we deserved to win. We didn't allow Wigan one chance all game. Tim Krul didn't have a save to make while we had lots of opportunities and should also have had a penalty in the first half.
"The penalty we did get was a clear one, with their player pulling back Teemu Pukki when he prepared to shoot and thankfully Mario put it away."
Paul Cook: "When the referee awarded the penalty I felt game was petering out into 0-0 draw, with two teams cancelling each other out.
"We got into some great positions in the final third and did a good job pressing them up the pitch but our end product wasn't great."