Gus Honeywood of Forces2Canaries gives us his verdict on yesterday’s win against Wigan.
Norwich brought their pre-season to a close yesterday afternoon, as they hosted Roberto Martinez’s Wigan Athletic at Carrow Road, whom proved to be City’s sternest opposition of the pre-season friendlies.
A crowd of nearly 9000 were treated to an enjoyable display, especially in the second half, as Bryan Gunn’s senior team completed their warm up matches unbeaten, with six wins and a draw.
It was the last opportunity for Bryan Gunn to run his eye over his summer signings ahead of next weekend’s league opener against Colchester United, with midfielder Stephen Hughes included in the starting line-up, along with Theoklitos, Tudur Jones, Whaley and Holt.
International clearance had not arrived in time to allow Maric and Askou to make their first appearance as contracted players, and Gunn decided to rest Michael Nelson after his injury at Crystal Palace earlier in the week.
Cody McDonald was hoping to make his first claim for a regular starting place after overcoming a knee injury which has restricted him to only two brief appearances in pre-season, but only had 21 minutes to impress the manager, having to wait till the 69th minute after being brought on for Chris Martin.
Wigan took the lead in the ninth minute after Wes Hoolahan was caught in possession and Ben Watson set up N’Zogbia, who caught the defence off guard and scored with a simple side foot finish, low to goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos right.
City drew level in the 37th minute when Jon Otsemobor burst down the right, got away from Titus Bramble, and crossed low into the six yard box where Chris Martin side footed home.
Wigan made eight changes at the break and, three minutes into the second half, they regained the lead, with Jason Scotland’s pass setting up fellow substitute Cho, who gave Michael Theoklitos no chance with a fierce rising drive.
Chris Martin scored a fantastic second to level the scores in the 57th minute when Stephen Hughes played a one two with Gary Doherty and the ball clipped Owain Tudur Jones’s heel before Chris Martin finished with a perfectly placed right foot shot.
City immediately replaced their central midfield pair of Owain Tudur Jones and Stephen Hughes with Matthew Gill and Tom Adeyemi, and double scorer Chris Martin was replaced by Cody McDonald with just over 20 minutes remaining and was given a stirring send off by the Carrow Road crowd.
City moved ahead for the first time in the 76th minute when they counter attacked swiftly from a Wigan corner. Jon Otsemobor headed clear and Wes Hoolahan floated a beautiful pass into the path of Simon Whaley, who found just enough space to tuck a low right foot shot between the Wigan keeper and the post.
All in all a good display by the Canaries, which no doubt leaves Bryan Gunn with some selection headaches ahead of next Saturdays game. It is all too easy to get wrapped up in the positivity and emotions of City’s pre-season results, but on their showings against higher league opposition you can’t help to be impressed with the players that Gunn and Co. have brought in.
Only time will tell how they will continue to settle, and forge ahead as a team, but on yesterday’s showing, and having fought to come back from behind on two occasions, things are looking very optimistic.
Forces2Canaries is the official Norwich City Supporters Group for current and ex-members of the Armed Forces and their dependants. For more information visit www.forces2canaries.co.uk.