Monday 3 December 8pm
Newcastle United 3 (Ba 13 (Pen), 21, Bigirimana 71)
Wigan 0

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.

Five points clear of the Relegation zone and we’d all have settled for that before kick-off.

Full match report to follow.