Coloccini unhappy at dropped points
Fabricio Coloccini says he would have swapped his match-saving strike for victory as Newcastle only just ended a bout of home sickness. For much of a difficult 94 minutes or so at St James' Park, last season's runaway Championship winners seemed certain to allow Wigan to follow in the footsteps of Blackpool and Stoke and leave Tyneside will all three points. Those kind of fixtures, rather than Aston Villa's visit to the north east or the trip to Everton, were the ones Chris Hughton and his players targeted when they sat down to plot a path through the Premier League season. As a result, while Argentina international Coloccini, named as captain for the day in the absence of the rested Kevin Nolan, was delighted with his injury-time equaliser, he knew a facing-saving 2-2 draw was not enough. He said: "We can't really be losing two points here. We have to win the games at home, and we were playing against a team who may be competing with us at the end of the season. "I am happy with the point and my goal - but I would be happier if I had not scored and we had got all three points." Newcastle deserve great credit for fighting all the way to the final whistle and rescuing a game which for long periods looked well beyond them. However, what should concern Hughton is that they were comprehensively out-played for much of the contest. The chief architect of their problems was well known to the Magpies. Charles N'Zogbia spent much of the latter part of his five-year spell on Tyneside agitating to leave, and finally got his wish in February last year when owner Mike Ashley cashed in on him to the tune of £6million as he desperately tried to balance the books. Whether N'Zogbia's continued presence at St James' Park might have helped stave off relegation is a matter for debate, but he returned to a predictably hostile welcome and his standing with fans who once adored his skill and pace was to fall further by the time the game was 23 minutes old. The Frenchman's individual battle with James Perch was a mismatch, and while Hughton leapt to the full-back's defence after the game, his struggle to get to grips with the Barclays Premier League is a mounting concern. Just how N'Zogbia managed to out-jump both Perch and Mike Williamson to head home Franco di Santo's deflected 22nd-minute cross is a question which may not yet have been answered to the manager's satisfaction. To make matters worse, the winger was left unmarked seconds later as he controlled Di Santo's cross on his chest, but his stunning left-foot finish was a thing of beauty. N'Zogbia repeatedly carved Newcastle open and with greater composure, could have had his side out of sight. However, Wigan did not kill the game off and when substitute Shola Ameobi headed home Jonas Gutierrez's 72nd-minute cross, the fightback was on. As the game entered four minutes of injury time, the Magpies had two wingers - Gutierrez and Wayne Routledge - playing on the same flank, and three strikers - Ameobi, Andy Carroll and Nile Ranger - on the pitch, and there was little science about their approach. But when Carroll flicked on Gutierrez's corner, it fell to the unmarked Coloccini at the far post and he beat keeper Ali Al Habsi from close range to snatch a draw. Ameobi said: "Few people would have thought we would get anything out of this game after half-time, but we believe. "We are not always going to play well, but you have got to have that belief, and I certainly have that and the team has that. "Regardless of what is going on and what the scenarios, you have got to keep on fighting to the end, and sometimes things like that happen." Latics boss Roberto Martinez was left to bemoan a fatal lack of concentration at the death. He said: "I know we want to be creative, we always want to play and that's something that will give us a lot of rewards in the long term. "But that little bit of know-how today killed us and I don't think the players deserved after all the effort over the 95 minutes to be feeling the way they are feeling now."
Related Wigan Athletic News