Coloccini's late late goal steals first St. James' Park win from Latics
NEWCASTLE UNITED 2
WIGAN ATHLETIC 2
N'Zogbia 22, 23
Report by Paul Chialton
Fabricio Coloccini's late equaliser broke Latics hearts at St. James' Park after being 2-0 ahead at half-time and giving another fantastic away performance.
Charles N'Zogbia marked his return to his former stomping ground with two superb goals before the break, putting the away side into a comfortable lead and silencing the crowd's vitriol towards him.
His first was a beautifully cushioned header from the edge of the six-yard box, getting above Chris Perch and guiding into the far corner after Franco Di Santo's cross.
Moments later Di Santo and the Frenchman combined again to break the home defence with another cross from the right that N'Zogbia did well to control before smashing into the top corner from the tightest of angles.
It was so nearly three before referee Mark Halsey brought an end to the first 45 minutes when Jordi Gomez fed N'Zogbia down the left, leaving he and Di Santo two-on-one at the back through on goal.
However the winger couldn't quite squeeze a ball across to set-up the Argentine and a golden chance that would, with hindsight, have made such a difference on the result.
Having said that the game-plan was being executed perfectly and it was a deserved lead.
Ronnie Stam and Emmerson Boyce teamed up to thwart Jose Enrique and Jonas Gutierrez's breaks down the left-wing, whilst James McCarthy and Hendry Thomas gave the Newcastle midfield no room to manoeuvre or advance.
In fact it was down to McCarthy's determination that N'Zogbia was able to double the lead. The Republic of Ireland international did well to close down Joey Barton, winning back possession 40-yards from goal and feeding in Di Santo down the right.
Going into the second-half the home side inevitably applied the pressure, with Shola Ameobi coming on and making a difference to his side's attacking threat. The striker was able to get onto the end of Gutierrez's cross and nod home past Ali Al Habsi who could do little to prevent the goal.
A tense final twenty minutes followed with pressure finally giving way deep into stoppage time as Newcastle's captain found space at the back post from a corner to nod home a dramatic equaliser.
A tough break then for Roberto Martinez's side, who again produced a determined, calculated and concentrated display away from home and remain unbeaten on the road.
Newcastle: Krul; Perch (Ranger, 89), Coloccini, Williamson, Jose Enrique; Guthrie (Routledge, 66), Barton, Tiote, Gutierrez; Lovenkrands (Ameobi, 60), Carroll
Subs: Soderberg, R. Taylor, Kadar, Smith
Latics: Al Habsi; Boyce, S. Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa; Thomas, McCarthy; Stam (Cleverley, 79), Gomez, N'Zogbia (Diame, 90); Di Santo (Rodallega, 65)
Subs: Kirkland, Watson, Boselli, Moses