Latics took this game to Newcastle from the start and Henri Camara’s first minute header just looped over the bar, but it set out his intentions for the game. Two minutes later Ryan Taylor, the bain in Newcastle’s side tried a cheeky shot.
The 23 year old had scored in his last two starts against the Toon and this game was to see him do it again as his 20 yard shot with the outside of his boot left Shay Given stranded in the Newcastle goal at he watched the ball go over his head.
The first half then turned into a scrappy affair, but Latics always looked the more likely to score with Valencia, Palacios and Camara tearing the Toon midfield to shreds. Palacios unleashed the next shot but the effort was straight at Given and he saved easily.
Newcastle weren’t offering much and their fans started to jeer them and even their first shot from Damien Duff couldn’t bring them around and the following looping header from Ameobi just got a few grunts.
Newcastle suddenly turned in to the Bolton of old as the long ball tactic was deployed, but Latics saw out the last ten minutes and took their lead into the interval.
The game was turned on its head though early in the second half as the inept Andre Mariner chose to send off Emmerson Boyce for a second yellow card. Boycey had made a terrific tackle and got the ball cleanly but the ref was having none of it and to his own embarrassment sent him off.
Our backs were now against the wall, although the defence worked magnificently until the introduction of Owen. His extra pace immediately told and went close with his first effort. Considering the amount of pressure we were under at this point, it was quite a shock to see Camara break away and be one on one with Given.
The Senegalese International did everything right but his shot came back off the post after it should have put the game beyond Newcastle’s reach. It was then that Owen capitalised from Kirkland spilling the ball from an Ameobi shot.
The ex-England International striker was in the right place at the right time to knock in the ball from 4 yards. Martins then pounced 5 minutes later to score what they thought would be the winning goal, only for Titus Bramble to rip the Toon’s hearts out with a last minute equaliser.
As it happened Newcastle should never have got anything out of this game, we were in full control until the disastrous decision to send Boyce off. But come the end it was a well earned point as we held out against the odds.
Report by Jason Taylor