Newcastle United 1-0 Wigan Athletic – Match Review

Yohan Cabaye was the hero for Newcastle as they left it late once again to beat Wigan 1-0 at St James’ Park and stretch their unbeaten run to 11 games in all competitions.

The Frenchman was on hand 10 minutes from time┬áto curl a sublime effort into the top corner at the Gallowgate End to keep the Magpies in fourth place whilst Roberto Martinez’s Latics stay in the Premier League relegation zone after their sixth defeat on the trot. It could have been so different for the visitors who were bright in the first half keeping Newcastle at bay with some resolute defending. They should have opened the scoring early on with Victor Moses’ fierce half volley from just inside the area superbly tipped wide by Tim Krul after four minutes. Confidence levels were boosted by that as they continued to frustrate the hosts with some resolute defending as they went close to breaking the deadlock again only for Hugo Rodallega to flash his shot wide of Krul’s near post on the quarter hour mark. That was a wake up call for the Geordies who took a foothold in the game from then on but just couldn’t turn their high percentage of possession into goals. Their best chance of the half fell to Leon Best but the Republic of Ireland strikers angled header from a Jonas Gutierrez cross was acrobatically parried away by Ali Al Habsi in the visitors goal. Ryan Taylor then curled a free kick narrowly wide as the home side pushed for a opener before Best found himself lucky to still be on the field after wild tackle on Maynor Figueroa resulted in a yellow card.

Magpies Boss Alan Pardew recognised the need for an extra dash of creativity and responded by taking Best off and throwing Hatem Ben Arfa on for the second half playing just off Demba Ba. It paid off almost instantly with the Frenchman’s movement allowing Taylor to find space and swing a cross over from the left with Ba meeting the ball with a downward header that was saved on the line by Al Habsi. That seemed to wake Wigan from their slumber and they almost broke the deadlock through Rodallega again with the Colombian collecting Figuero’s long punt only to smash the ball into the side netting. Still it was Newcastle who looked the more likely to score and Ben Arfa almost did just that but Al Habsi was equal to his fiercely struck shot as the Toon Army supporters started to become restless.

Their grumbles turned to cheers just minutes later though as Cabaye struck to notch is first goal for the club since his move from Lille in the summer. Again Taylor was afforded plenty of room to swing in a cross that found substitute Sylvaine Marveaux with the winger taking a neat touch and laying it off to Cabaye to bend a right footed effort away from Al Habsi and into the top corner to send the Geordie faithful wild. However celebrations should have been short lived as Wigan went on the offensive and any touch to Moses’ low cross across the face of goal would have resulted in an equaliser. Fortunately for the Magpies they held on claim yet another three points and maintain their impressive start to season.