Premier League - Newcastle win at Wigan
Sun, 02 Jan 18:55:00 2011
Newcastle United moved back into the top half of the Premier League table with a 1-0 win over Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
The Magpies were without the injured Andy Carroll, but Shola Ameobi stepped into the breach by scoring his seventh goal of the season to give Alan Pardew's side the lead on 19 minutes.
Newcastle's fourth away win of the season was the perfect tonic following back to-back defeats over the Christmas period and lifts them up to 10th in the table on goal difference. Wigan remain just one point and one place above the relegation zone.
The prospect of two further matches without the suspended former Toon winger Charles N'Zogbia - who began his ban for a red card against Arsenal here - will be a worrying one for Latics manager Roberto Martinez, whose side showed little drive or creativity as they went in search of an equaliser.
Ameobi could have opened the scoring as early as the second minute when he headed Danny Simpson's inviting cross over the bar from close range.
Tom Cleverley forced a good save from Steve Harper - making his first appearance since a shoulder injury sidelined him back in September - but as the half wore on it was the visitors who looked more likely to score.
So it proved when Wigan failed to deal with a long ball forward from Harper and Joey Barton robbed Steven Gohouri of the ball. Barton's shot across goal was saved by Ali Al Nabsi but Ameobi was well positioned to tap home the rebound.
Save for Antolin Alcaraz sending a looping header against the crossbar, the rest of the half belonged to Newcastle. Fabricio Coloccini also saw a headed effort come back off the woodwork, before Al Habsi had to be quick off his line to deny Jonas Gutierrez after a great through ball from Jose Enrique.
Wigan emerged from the break in slightly more spirited fashion, but they failed to trouble Harper's goal any further and Newcastle again had the lion's share of the chances.
Steven Taylor headed against the bar after a needless foul by Gary Caldwell on Peter Lovenkrands gave the visitors a free-kick, substitute Leon Best prodded an effort wide of the target after leading a Newcastle break and Enrique curled a strike over the bar in stoppage time.
Barton was fortunate not to see red after a lunging high tackle on James McArthur, and the Latics also had a half-hearted appeal for a penalty turned down when Mauro Boselli's shot hit the unwitting Taylor on the arm.
But overall they did not deserve a share of the spoils from this match.Tony Mabert / Eurosport