Newcastle United v Wigan – Match Report
Monday 3 December 8pm
Newcastle United 3 (Ba 13 (Pen), 21, Bigirimana 71)
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Incidents/goals change matches and for the first time since the winner went in off Papiss Cisse’s back against West Brom, we had a bit of luck go our way.
Whether this proves to be an important three points in an extended relegation fight, or the start of a run into form, is anybody’s guess.
The first ten minutes suggested it was going to be a very open game and the first goal would be crucial. A penalty/sending off was the dream combination and overall the team then gave a professional performance to make sure they gave Wigan little or no encouragement.
Vurnon Anita followed up an energetic display against Stoke with more of the same today, hopefully a positive sign that he is finding his feet a bit in the Premier League.
While that other ‘R’ word can’t be ignored, it was Relief that was the common bond tonight.
Newcastle started as they had to, a high tempo opening to try and put pressure high up the pitch.
Wigan are no mugs though and they carved out the best chance of the opening ten minutes only to see Krul make a class save.
A few minutes later and a move totally out of keeping with United’s recent form sees the ball pinged around at pace, Anita to Ba and a through ball to Cisse who is barged off the ball by Figueroa.
It looks a penalty but you don’t assume anything this season, however the referee is pointing to the spot AND brandishing a red card.
Harsh on the Wigan defender but after soft red cards for Tiote and Coloccini already, I don’t think we need to be offering any apologies.
Ba rolls the penalty in and only eight minutes later he’s celebrating an even easier finish. Santon does what he’s been threatening to do and creates a simple second goal for Ba, Cutting inside at pace he unleashes a great shot that Al Habsi can only parry to the feet of Demba Ba.
Gael Bigirimana added a wonderful dipping left footer in the second half to make it a comfortable three points, the only (three!) negatives were that Santon, Tiote and Ba all left the action with possibly the Italian looking the most serious with what looked a groin injury.
I think you have to take this result/performance for what it is, an encouraging ninety minutes but with the reminder that for most of it we were up against ten men. You can’t take the mick out of the mackems that they only ever win against ten men and then claim tonight’s display as a masterclass.
Hopefully though the players can take confidence from the result and that thanks to being against ten men they could be on the ball so much.
There are some tough matches ahead and whether the likes of Marveaux can repeat this better performance when space is at a real premium remains to be seen.
Fingers crossed that the players who left the pitch can shake off their aches and strains, especially in the case of Demba Ba who for the first time in however long looked to have some kind of a productive partnership with Cisse.
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon (Ferguson 50), Anita, Tiote (Bigirimana 46), Cisse, Marveaux, Gutierrez (Sammy Ameobi 76), Ba
Unused Subs: Harper, Tavernier, Ranger, Shola
Wigan: Al Habsi, Boyce, Caldwell (Lopez 46), Figueroa, Stam, McCarthy, Jones, Beausejour), Kone, Di Santo (McManaman 83), Gomez (McArthur 22)
Ref: Mike Jones
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