A late goal from the Ivory Coast striker was enough to give Wigan a valuable three points over Norwich in its bid for survival, pushing the team out of the relegation zoneWigan came out on top in its vital clash against Norwich City, earning a 1-0 victory in an edgy Premier League encounter at the DW Stadium.
The relegation six-pointer looked set for a scoreless stalemate but a late strike from Wigan’s Arouna Kone gave the home side a priceless three points to climb out of the bottom three.
The home side started the game five points better off from the same stage last season in spite of its precarious position, yet the fixture with such huge importance on the relegation battle started off tentatively.
It was Wigan which produced the first real opportunity of the game on 26 minutes when a ball from Emmerson Boyce allowed Kone the chance to strike a low effort on goal from outside the box. His shot dragged wide of Lee Camp’s right-hand post.
Kone continued to offer glimpses of light going forward but his attempts on goal were often hit with little conviction. Jean Beausejouer’s left-hand side cross on 40 minutes brought half-hearted appeals for a penalty when the ball appeared to strike Russell Martin’s hand in an otherwise timid first 45 minutes of football.
The sides entered the second period unchanged, and it took until the 58th minute for the next slice of excitement to arise when Bradley Johnson’s ambitious effort from long-range whistled past the Wigan post.
Wigan picked up the pace and on the 70th minute came close. Antolin Alcaraz's towering header from an in-swinging corner was hacked off the line by Johnny Howson who held his position on the near post.
Jordi Gomez was then given a great opportunity to put the home side ahead as the game neared its conclusion, but snatched at his shot inside the penalty box as his drilled attempt failed to break through the resilient Norwich defense.
Yet Martinez’s faith in his Wigan side paid off when Kone hit a thunderous drive with 10 minutes remaining, beating Camp at his near post to give the home side a vital three points in its bid for Premier League survival.