Toon 3 Wigan 0

04 December 2012 11:39
Alan Pardew's boys could have been "Recordbreakers" if they had lost to Wigan last night. The first time United had lost five Premiership games on the bounce. NEWCASTLE 3 WIGAN 0

NEWCASTLE UTD: 1. Tim Krul 5. Danny Simpson 6. Mike Williamson 2. Fabricio Coloccini 3. Davide Santon 49' 22. Sylvain Marveaux 24. Cheick Tiote 46' 8. Vurnon Anita 18. Jonas Gutierrez 75' 19. Demba Ba 9. Papiss Cisse

Subs: 37. Steve Harper 20. Gael Bigirimana 46' 23. Shola Ameobi 28. Sammy Ameobi 75' 30. Nile Ranger 31. Shane Ferguson 49' 34. James Tavernier

WIGAN ATHLETIC: 26. Ali Al Habsi 23. Ronnie Stam 17. Emmerson Boyce 5. Gary Caldwell 46' 31. Maynor Figueroa 14. Jordi Gomez 23' 6. David Jones 4. James McCarthy 22. Jean Beausejour 9. Franco Di Santo 83' 2. Arouna Kone

Subs: 12. Mike Pollitt 15. Callum McManaman 83' 16. James McArthur 23' 19. Mauro Boselli 20. Fraser Fyvie 24. Adrian Lopez 46' 25. Roman Golobart

But they got back on the winning track against 10-man Wigan, with a victory that (at least) stems the tide for the time being.

It was a much needed win - but there was little to suggest we are going to rocket up the table - although the scoreline may suggest that.

Demba Ba served up a timely reminder of his potency, as he was probably the big difference between the two sides.

He was in a lively mood, and always the player who caused mayhem in the Wigan box, obviously something the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool will have noticed before they go head-to-head in the January transfer window. The 27-year-old's first-half double ended a run of four successive league defeats and brought some welcome relief to the Geordie faithful.

But Alan Pardew's men were aided in no small part by the 12th-minute dismissal of Honduras international Maynor Figueroa by referee Mike Jones for pushing over Papiss Cisse when he was heading goalward.

Jones later opted not to send off Gary Caldwell, who was once on Newcastle's books, for what was a second bookable offence.

Ba converted the penalty and then took his tally for the season to 10 with a close-range finish after a fabulous Davide Santon shot had been parried, with substitute Gael Bigirimana's superb first goal for the club cementing just a second league victory in 10 attempts.

What goes around - comes around.

Newcastle have endured more than their fair share of bad luck to date during the current campaign, but fortune favoured them in this fixture.

There were 12 minutes on the clock when Vurnon Anita picked out Ba and he slid the ball into the run of strike partner Papiss Cisse.

Figueroa came across to challenge the Senegal international, who ended up in a heap on the ground with Mr Jones pointing to the spot.

I thought it was a push and a penalty without doubt, but others around me felt it was shoulder-to-shoulder and we were lucky to get away with it.

Having made that decision, he then had little option but to dismiss the defender and with the Wigan bench still furiously arguing their case - and wing-back Jean Beausejour having been booked for his protests - Ba thumped the spot-kick low to keeper Ali Al Habsi's right to open the scoring.

Until that point, the visitors had more than made a fist of a game.

Pardew insisted United would come out with all guns blazing, but that was far from the truth, and Tim Krul had to dive full length to turn away Franco Di Santo's well-struck fourth-minute effort.

But Figueroa's premature departure changed the shape of the contest and after Ba and Jonas Gutierrez had both gone for goal from distance, United went 2-0 up.

Santon headed forward in determined fashion with 21 minutes gone before cutting inside and unleashing a right-foot piledriver which Al Habsi simply could not handle, and Ba was in the right place at the right time to tap home the rebound.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez decided to shore up his team by withdrawing the attack-minded Jordi Gomez and send on James McArthur in his place.

Experienced campaigners Fabricio Coloccini and Cheick Tiote started to stroke the ball around and make the most of United's numerical advantage.

Anita, however, still looks a luxury in this team. He makes himself available but never seems to do anything constructive when they give him the ball.

There were a couple of fancy flicks that could have given players space to run at, but 90% of the time he wants the ball - only to give it back to where it originally came from.

The game might have been effectively over nine minutes before the break when Wigan skipper Caldwell, who had earlier been cautioned for a crude tackle from behind on Ba, felled the same man on the edge of the penalty area but Mr Jones was generous in the extreme as he awarded only a free-kick.

Frenchman Sylvain Marveaux, who had been handed a free role behind Ba with Cisse starting wide on the right, curled the resulting free-kick inches over the angle of post and crossbar.

Wigan regained a measure of composure as the half-time whistle approached, but they headed for the dressing room knowing the odds were heavily stacked against them.

Caldwell was conspicuous by his absence as the sides returned for the second half with Adrian Lopez having taken his place, obviously replaced before he was sent off.

Tiote, who is one card away from (another) suspension, was replaced by Bigirimana, probably to keep him out of trouble.

Pardew was forced to make a second change within four minutes of the restart when Santon limped off to become the latest man to join a worrying casualty list and was replaced by Shane Ferguson.

To their credit, Wigan took the game to their hosts in the early stages of the half, but it was Al Habsi who had to get down well to keep out Marveaux's 52nd-minute strike after he had turned smartly on to Anita's pass and carved his way into the box.

The Frenchman, enjoying perhaps his best night yet in a black and white shirt, turned provider four minutes later to set up Bigirimana, whose side-footed effort was saved by Al Habsi, and Cisse sent a dipping 59th-minute effort over the bar.

However, the former Coventry midfielder was not to be denied and when Marveaux found him wide on the right with 19 minutes remaining, he cut inside to curl a fine left-foot shot past the keeper and inside the far post.

No-one can deny this was a vital three points, but I don't think anyone left St James' Park believing the worst is behind us.

It's a "baby step" . no more!


Source: Newcastle United Mad