A late Arouna Kone strike earned Wigan three precious points in its quest for Premier League survival as it beat Newcastle 2-1 at the DW Stadium.
Jean Beausejour gave the Latics the lead in the 17th minute when he fired home from close range, but the home side should have been down to 10-men when Callum McManaman put in a horrendous challenge on Massadio Haidara but he escaped punishment.
In the second half, Newcastle pressed and finally got a leveler when Davide Santon powered the ball into the net from a tight angle. The game looked to be heading for a draw but the Ivorian popped up in the right place to turn the ball in.
Roberto Martinez kept the same team that beat Everton in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup last week as keeper Joel Robles started ahead of Ali Al-Habsi between the sticks.
Newcastle made three changes to the side that beat Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday. Yoan Gouffran, Mathieu Debuchy and Sylvain Marveaux all returned to the lineup, while Yohan Cabaye missed out through injury.
Wigan began the game strongly and took the lead in the through Beausejour. McManaman picked up the ball and raced past Haidara and lifted a wonderful cross to the back post, where the Chilean was waiting. He made no mistake firing through the legs of Rob Elliot to find net.
McManaman was lucky to stay on the pitch moments later when he went in hard on Haidara. Replays showed he made no contact with the ball and he went in studs raised against the fullback. However, he received no card from referee Mark Halsey.
Martinez’s side almost doubled its lead when Shaun Maloney was denied by a good save from Elliot. The Scot turned his man on the edge of the area and fired a dipping shot towards the bottom corner but the keeper was there to make the stop.
Newcastle could have grabbed an equalizer late in the half as the ball fell kindly to Papiss Cisse in the penalty area but he could only direct the ball over the bar as he and James Perch got in each other’s way as he pulled the trigger.
When the half time whistle blew an altercation on sideline erupted between McManaman and Newcaste assistant John Carver. As a result, Carver was sent to the stands along with Wigan coach Graham Barrett.
After the break, McManaman nearly got his side’s second goal but his goalbound shot was well blocked by defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and the Magpies scrambled away the loose ball.
Newcastle was struggling create many openings but Cisse should have done a lot better when he was put behind the Wigan defense by Gouffran. The striker blazed his shot over the bar when he had players open in the middle of the penalty area.
Cisse was to make up for this error as he played delightful ball to Santon to score Pardew’s side’s equalizer. The Italian raced onto the pass and drilled a low shot past Joel into the bottom corner with great composure.
The Magpies made a late press to win the game and but it was Wigan which scored the winner in a goalmouth in the penalty area and Kone was there to turn the ball into the net from inside the six yard box to seal the win for the Latics.