Toon floored again at Wigan!

By Lee Ryder on Dec 26, 08 05:04 PM

NEWCASTLE United's late fightback at the JJB Stadium could not rescue a point for Joe Kinnear's side on a frustrating day for the Magpies at Wigan.

Danny Guthrie's late penalty had set up a nervy finish after goals from serial menace Ryan Taylor and Zaki had put Wigan in control.

On a troublesome day for Kinnear perhaps the writing was on the wall for United when Jose Enrique was injured in the warm up meaning Mark Viduka started the match after a reshuffle.

And a worrying injury for Habib Beye - wiped out by Lee Cattermole - and a red card for Sebastien Bassong added to United's woes.

Damien Duff had been scheduled to start the game in an advanced role with Michael Owen.

Duff switched back to his familiar left wing position and Viduka was in attack with the skipper.

The injury to Enrique also meant that Kazenga LuaLua was named on the bench with N'Zogbia starting at left-back.

There were no genuine chances for either side in the opening 10 minutes but United were committed all over the pitch with Jonas, Danny Guthrie and Nicky Butt getting through their fair share of crunching tackles.

Owen did have Chris Kirkland's goal in his sights on 14 minutes but he was stopped in his tracks by Paul Scharner who won the ball fairly just as the Toon star was about to shoot.

With 20 minutes played Jonas forced Kirkland into a stop after creating a chance down the right with the Wigan keeper called into action for the first time.

Wigan responded with a tame shot from Zaki with Shay Given having no problems with his low effort.

Yet Wigan came closer moments later when Antonio Valencia stabbed just wide from Zaki's ball in with Given rooted to the spot after a good move from the Latics.

The Latics snatched the lead on 29 minutes and there was feeling of déjà vu about the opener.

Toon fans must have feared the worse when Wigan were handed a free-kick 25 yards from goal with the taker Ryan Taylor having scored the winning goal in the last two visits to the JJB and of course on target in the 2-2 draw at St James's Park last month.

Therefore it may have been no surprise when Ryan Taylor curled it magnificently past Given to make it 1-0 after Jonas had needlessly conceded a set-piece.

Ten minutes ahead of the break and there was injury trouble for United again when Lee Cattermole's shocking tackle resulted in Habib Beye being carried off and Steven Taylor taking his place at right-back.

Cattermole was booked for his trouble as United lost their second defender of the day through injury following Enrique's warm-up woe.

Wigan went in a goal to the good at half-time but could have doubled their lead five minutes into the second half.

Ryan Taylor's corner was met by Maynor Figueroa who somehow managed to misfire from close range.

By this time Ryan Taylor was proving to be a real thorn in United's side and he almost grabbed his second of the day with a powerful low effort that was turned away by Given after a shot from 20 yards out.

The travelling Toon Army chanted "attack" as the game approached the hour mark and Danny Guthrie responded with a shot that looped off the back of Titus Bramble after the midfielder's bustling run.

However, it was all Wigan as Newcastle struggled to get back into the game.

United withdrew Viduka on 67 minutes with Geordie boy Andy Carroll replacing the Aussie striker.

But things went from bad to worse for Newcastle with 18 minutes left when Sebastien Bassong struggled to keep up with Emile Heskey and ended up tugging back the England international inside the area.

Ref Dean instantly produced a red card to leave United shorthanded and Zaki stepped up to roll the penalty to Given's right hand post and make it 2-0.

Kinnear made his final change of the day when David Edgar replaced Owen with 12 minutes left.

And as Edgar made his way to the right-back slot it meant that only Fabricio Coloccini remained from the original back four Kinnear had penned before the game after injuries to Beye, Enrique and Bassong's red card.

United were handed a chance to score from the spot with three minutes left when Kirkland took out Carroll and the keeper picked up a yellow card.

Guthrie confidently slammed home the penalty to net United's first ever goal at the JJB to set up a tense finish.

Newcastle has a great chance to grab an unlikely point when N'Zogbia crossed from the left and Duff somehow managed to fire it high and wide with the goal yawning.

And in the dying stages Duff drilled wide again after Newcastle had won a corner which had even resulted in Given heading forward for the flag kick.

The 2-1 loss means United have lost on all of their five visits to the JJB Stadium.

WIGAN: Kirkland, Melchiot, Scharner, Bramble, Figueroa, Valencia, Cattermole, Palacios (Kilbane 90), R Taylor (Brown 71), Zaki, Heskey (Camara 86).

UNITED: Given, Beye (Taylor 35), N'Zobgia, Coloccini, Bassong, Duff, Guthrie, Butt, Jonas, Viduka (Carroll 67), Owen (Edgar 78).

Ref: Mike Dean


Tad Caster said:

I know there'll be a thread on this game, but that was another we should've won. We didn't really get into the game until we were a man down. Guthrie came alive when he had to move forward. Butt was poor and Duff? Well, is all forgiven after that last goal. No. He was rank all game, losing the ball too easily and giving it away and to cap it all, he missed that chance to put us level - and we were probably worth a draw becuase they'd gone to pieces - see what a little pressure does, Joe? Maybe you should manage the Mackems after all.

Terrible refereeing throughout. I hope he's reported.

Stewart Douglass said:

Agree with Tad Caster, Duff not worthy of a place in the team, nor is Viduka who is a complete waste of space. Why not give Andy Carroll a run in the team, he is young, mobile and provides a physical presence in the opponents penalty area, and above all he is a Geordie who takes pride in wearing the shirt. I think this game also proves how valuable Enrique is to the defence. I cant understand the critism he gets from the fans. He is confident on the ball, always looks for the simple pass and when he makes that pass he runs into open space for return pass. But unfortunately his team mates very rarely find space to receive pass from him, he usually has no other option than to punt a long ball downfield. If he does find someone to pass to, he hardly ever gets a return pass.He also is strong and very fast, in fact I would be surprised if he is not the fastest player in first team squad.

John Fowler said:

I'd start Carroll up front with Owen against Liverpool,move N'Zogbia back into the midfield & have Taylor & Edgar in defence.It's easy to manage from the lounge room!

mark said:

is it not time that somone should sue cattermole. The man is a thug.


Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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