Premier League - Cabaye fires Newcastle to victory

Sat, 22 Oct 17:27:00 2011

Yohan Cabaye's late strike kept Newcastle's unbeaten start to the Premier League season going as they beat Wigan 1-0 at St James' Park.

Newcastle 1 Wigan 0

Steven Taylor's 81st minute cross was expertly chested down by substitute Sylvain Marveaux, who then teed up Cabaye to thunder home from the edge of the box.

The strike was no less than Newcastle deserved after dominating possession throughout the match, though Wigan squandered several excellent chances to score themselves as they slumped to a sixth successive league defeat.

The hosts started the match in confident mood, as befits a side who are unbeaten in the league in nearly six months, constantly probing forwards right from the off as they looked to get forward at every opportunity.

Jonas Gutierrez and Gabriel Obertan tormented the Wigan full-backs from the start, continually looking to put balls in for Leon Best and the in-form Demba Ba.

But the first clear chance of the match fell to the visitors after just five minutes. Victor Moses's great run up the right and a neat touch by Emerson Boyce set up Hugo Rodallega to unleash a thundering shot that looked certain to go in until Tim Krul's incredible reaction save saw him push the ball over.

And despite Newcastle's continued probing, it was again Rodallega who went close on 17 minutes when David Jones's first-time pass put him through. The South American was furious to miss the target with just the keeper to beat from the edge of the box.

The hosts still looked sharper, however, and their industry almost bore fruit just after the half-hour mark when Gutierrez's cross found Leon Best, whose header was pawed away from the line by Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.

From the corner the Magpies kept coming with Cabaye's cross finding Ryan Taylor, whose free header flew just wide.

And with neither side able to break the other down a touch of frustration crept in, with Cabaye, Best and Jones all going in the book before the break as the two sides cancelled each other out.

Toon boss Alan Pardew tried to shake up the pattern of the match by bringing on Hatem Ben Arfa for Best at half-time, and it was Newcastle who earned the first chance of the second period as Gutierrez's cross for Ba was cut out at the last moment by Al Habsi.

Yet all too often Pardew's men's domination of possession failed to yield clear-cut chances - partially thanks to the tireless defensive efforts of Wigan, and partially down to a sequence of poor deliveries put in by Obertan.

Wigan continued to look the more dangerous going forward, and Rodallega almost opened the scoring on the 69th minute with an effort that hit the side netting - though if he had scored, Newcastle would have been rightly aggrieved by his apparent handball in the build-up.

With the match looking like heading for a stalemate, Pardew brought on Shola Ameobi and Marveaux, however, and it was the latter whose deft touch was key in breaking the deadlock.

Taylor's lovely cross from the left found the Frenchman, who calmly took his time to deliver a perfect set-up pass to Cabaye - and the midfielder's well-struck shot from the edge of the box curled out of the reach of the diving Al Habsi.

Wigan came close to equalising as Moses continued to create chances, but Mohamed Diame headed one wide with six minutes left and failed to latch onto the other with two minutes to go.

Newcastle eventually ran down the clock to stretch their unbeaten league run to 12 matches, and Pardew's men must now begin to fancy their chances of retaining their lofty position deep into the second half of the season.

For Wigan, however, there will be yet another post mortem after a performance in which they tried hard but yet again ended up on the wrong side of the result.

Toby Keel / Eurosport

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