Latics frustrated by Canaries in opening day draw
Watson (pen) 20
By Iain McMullen
Latics had to settle for a share of the spoils after a hard fought game against Norwich City at the DW Stadium today, kicking off the new Barclays Premier League season.
After enjoying a fine victory over Villarreal in their last pre-season friendly on Sunday, Roberto Martinez sent his men out hopeful of opening day glory, also welcoming Hugo Rodallega back into the squad after the Colombian's recent Copa America exploits.
Paul Lambert's canaries brought a vocal following with them as they returned to the top flight after two successive promotions.
The game started at a frenetic pace as both sides looked for flying start, the game only 30 seconds old when the referee flashed his first yellow card after David Fox hacked down Franco Di Santo.
The first real chance fell to Latics in the 15th minute as Emmerson Boyce beat two men in the area to force Ruddy into a smart save.
The home side started to look dangerous as Victor Moses marauded down the left flank looking to link up well with Di Santo in the middle.
Norwich were also creating chances as the game flowed backwards and forwards, and Hoolahan went close in the 17th minute.
The deadlock was finally broken on 20 minutes when Di Santo was pulled down in the area by Marc Tierney, leaving the referee with no choice but to point at the penalty spot.
Ben Watson stepped up to power a well-placed shot to past the goalkeeper and Latics were in a deserved lead.
Norwich battled well as they looked for a way back into the game and they finally got the goal in first-half stoppage time after the dangerous Hoolahan pounced on a loose ball inside the area.
The second half saw some full blooded challenges and both sides added to an exciting encounter.
Hugo Rodallega and Conor Sammon were both brought on by Martinez as the Spaniard looked for a winner, both players looking dangerous after their introduction.
The game went from end to end with Sammon going close with a powerful header and Ben Watson striking the post with a glorious shot from just outside the area.
Norwich also looked to create chances of their own and went close in the last five minutes.
The elusive goal failed to come however, and the referee finally brought proceedings to end after an action-packed and entertaining day.
Wigan Athletic:Al Habsi, McCarthy, Caldwell (c), Watson, Di Santo (Sammon, 52), Moses, Gomez (Rodallega, 52) Boyce, Diame, Lopez (Stam, 81), Figueroa.
Subs:Pollitt, Thomas, McArthur, Sammon, Jones, Rodallega, Stam
Norwich City:Ruddy, R. Martin, Morison (Pilkington, 74), Whitbread (Barnett,70), Crofts, Holt (c), Surman (Bennett, 74), Hoolahan, Fox, Tierney, De Laet.
Subs:Rudd, Johnson, Jackson, Pilkington, Bennett, Barnettt, Naughton.