Late winner deepens Wigan’s gloom

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Wigan arrived at St James Park seeking to break a losing run of five Premier League games and win their first ever Premier League game away against Newcastle United.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez opted to freshen things up replacing Di Santo, McCarthy and Gohuri with the returning Rodallega and Figueroa and handing a Premier League debut to the pacey Spanish winger Albert Crusat.

Wigan started the brighter, with Rodallega looking sharp and within the first two minutes Colochinni had to be quick to block a shot from the Columbian. Wigan continued to pressure the Newcastle defence and Victor Moses looking like the player of the first few weeks of the season forced a save from Tim Krul following a header from Rodallega.

Moses troubled Krul again very shortly afterwards with a rasping shot which forced a good save from the Dutch keeper.

Newcastle have been on a fine run of form lately and hit back when from a corner, Jones was forced to make a sharp clearance. Guittierrez was the danger man as he so often is and an attacking run into the penalty area was stopped by a great tackle from the Wigan skipper Gary Caldwell. Newcastle looked good from set pieces and Alcaraz had to move sharply to clear from a Cabaye corner.

Wigan should have taken the lead, when a cross from Diame found Rodallega but the striker rushed his shot and the ball went wide. Again Newcastle came back at Wigan and Al Habsi was forced to make a good save from Leon Best.

The game continued to ebb and flow in an open and entertaining game and it was to the amazement of all present in the stadium that the half time whistle was blown by Mr Swarbrick, a half which a Latics side looking a lot more balanced than in last week’s debacle enjoyed more than a fair share of the possession but once again failed to convert this into goals.

Alan Pardew opted to change things at half time replacing the yellow carded Leon Best with Hatem Ben Arfa.

Newcastle had the first chance of the second half but it didn’t trouble the Wigan keeper when Obertan blazed well over. Wigan’s defence has a reputation of nodding off at crucial moments and Caldwell was the culprit this time allowing Ba in on goal but once again a good save from Al Habsi thwarted an attack from a Newcastle team who looked sharper in this second half . Newcastle continued to press forward in search of the opening arena and the Wigan defence was forced several rear guard actions to keep the score goal less.

Wigan looked to counter and Taylor was forced to clear a good cross from Crusat and Jones shot over the bar from the edge of the area.

Time and again Newcastle attacked the Wigan goal and smart blocks from Caldwell and Alcaraz thwarted shots from Cabaye and Ben Arfa. Latics seemed to gain confidence from a solid back four and pushed forward in search of the opening goal but chances on goal were few.

Back again came Newcastle and dangerman Ben Arfa once again put Al Habsi to the test but once again the Oman international passed the test.

Wigan have only scored five goals prior to today’s goals and a much improved team performance was once again let down by this statistic, when Cabaye hit a wonderful shot from the edge of the penalty area which left Al Habsi gasping and Wigan were behind.

Wigan brought Sammon and McArthur on for Crusat and Watson as they pushed forward for an equaliser and Diame should have done better with a glancing header from a Moses cross which went past the post.

The final whistle increased Latics’ losing streak and a much better performance than last week still gave Wigan no points and Roberto Martinez’s team’s lack of goals means that there is a long hard season ahead.

Wigan ( 4-5-1)

Al Habsi

Boyce Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa

Moses Jones Watson Diame Crusat

Rodallega

Subs used ; Sammon for Crusat ( 82 ), McArthur for Watson ( 82 )

Att 48,321

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