Ryan Taylor yet again scored in what is growing to be his favourite opponents, that it the fourth time in four games he has hit the onion bag against Newcastle and it put us on course for a great victory, the only shock was how the Toon actually scored.
The first half kicked off with Latics doing their usual ‘up and at ’em tatics’ and we could have gone one up in the first two minutes when Amr Zaki tested out Shay Given with a long drive that stung the keepers hands.
Valencia was getting a lot of joy down the wing and Latics exploited this at every opportunity, and N’Zogbia was having a torrid time of it. The next chance fell to Emile Heskey but Ryan Taylor’s free kick was too high for the Latic’s front man to get a head on.
Newcastle were struggling to get hold of the ball and when they did manage it the Latics midfield were on on them in no time winning it back. Latics could have ahd a penalty on 22 mites as Taylor whipped in a fantastic cross that bounced up onto Coloccini, but the referee just waved it away.
Taylor did get another chance just 4 minutes later as Zaki is hacked down on the edge of the area. Given must have kittens every time he comes up against Taylor and the U21 England Internatiuonal didn’t disappoint, he got his foot around a glorious free kick that had Given beaten again.
One nil and nobody could say we didn’t deserve it. Latics carried on hustling and more chances came the way of Zaki, Heskey and Valencia, but these times Given was up to the challenge. The Toon were on the back foot for the rest of the half and wow how the travelling fans let them know about it.
The half ended with Taylor benefitting from a miscross form Zaki, the ball rolled behind Heskey and fell right at Ryan’s feet, but the youngster took too long setting himself and Gutierrez cleared with a last ditch tackle.
The second half failed to live up to the energy of the first and the amount of wasted chances on both side was almost getting embarrassing. Zaki did manage to salvage a corner after great work down the left, but Figueroa managed to put his header wide when it was easier to score.
For all the wasted possession it was definitely Latics that looked the more likely to score, due to the fact that Newcastle were still trying to work out where the Wigan goal was. Valencia was the next to test the Toon defence and he came out on top, skipping past N’Zogbia, but his cross is missed by both Heskey and Taylor on the six yard line, the slightest of touches from either player would have sealed Newcastle’s fate.
Valencia was starting to get the freedom of the left flank now and he kept on skinning N’Zogbia only to be thwarted by his teammates touch (or lack of) and the Toon defence. Newcastle did manage to venture into our half on 59 minutes as Guthrie manages to test Kirkland, but the England keeper was well equal to the call.
This seemed to get them going but Latics midfield and defence was equal to anything they were producing and Heskey and Zaki were unlucky not to grab a goal each themselves before the amazing site of Mark Viduka just leaving the pitch sent the away fans mad. It looked like the Aussie had had enough and went.
Minutes later Bassong decided that there was no way he was going to catch Heskey and tried to pull him back, the linesman flagged for the foul but Mike Dean waved play on and as Bruno was about to shape for the shot, Bassong decided to have one last tug which got us a penalty and him a red card for being an idiot (well they said it was because he was last man).
Up stepped Amr Zaki again to calmly slot home the spot kick and wrap the game up for Wigan. We then stepped of the gas and passed it around a bit which got Duff and Butt agrivated, oh and a booking each. Palacios was unlucky not to make it three nil, but Given managed to get his fingertips to the shot.
The last ten minutes fizzled out as Latics saw it out, but Guthrie did manage to score a consolation as somehow Mike Dean saw Carroll falling over in a 50/50 challenge with Kirkland as being a penalty. But it was far too little too late and Latics took the three points.
Report by Jason Taylor