Luck's out for Latics who suffer late heartache after a superb away performance
NEWCASTLE UNITED 1
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
By Iain McMullen
Latics suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United today, after dominating the majority of the St James' Park encounter.
It was a cruel blow for Roberto Martinez's men as they put in an impressive performance, only to fall to a late goal from the home side.
With no points in five games, the Spanish boss knew the unbeaten hosts would provide stiff opposition as his team sought a return to form.
Newcastle have been the surprise package of the season thus far and had the luxury of naming the same starting 11 for the fifth consecutive game.
Martinez meanwhile made three changes to the team that lost to Bolton Wanderers last week, Albert Crusat, Hugo Rodallega and Maynor Figueroa coming in to replace Franco Di Santo, James McCarthy and Steve Gohouri.
Latics made a bright start the game with Rodallega forcing Tim Krul into a smart save in just the fourth minute following good work down the right side.
It was the Colombian who again went close after 15 minutes, when he fired just wide of the goal following work by David Jones.
The home side finally had some joy ten minutes before the break, when the lively Jonas Gutierrez managed to wriggle free from Boyce to deliver a dangerous cross into the penalty area.
Leon Best rose well but his powerful header was brilliantly blocked by Al Habsi, who had been a virtual spectator until that point in the match.
Ryan Taylor sent a free-kick just wide of the post moments later, but in truth it was the men in blue who had controlled the first half.
The hosts introduced French international Hatem Ben Arfa at the break and came out for the second half showing an intent that had been lacking in the first 45 minutes.
Despite being on the back foot during the opening exchanges of the second period, Latics remained composed and slowly began to exert some authority back onto the game.
Crusat made a number a surging runs down the left side as his side looked to stretch Newcastle's defence, while Moses and Boyce also found space down the right flank.
The encounter began to open up during the final 20 minutes with both sides pushing forward in search of the elusive breakthrough goal.
Ali Al Habsi produced another fantastic stop to deny Ben Arfa as Newcastle again tried to increase the tempo, urged on by a vocal crowd.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 81st minute when Yohan Cabaye rifled a fierce shot past Al Habsi to give the home side the advantage their fans craved.
Moses fired a low cross through a crowded penalty area minutes later but there was nobody in a blue shirt on hand to add the finishing touch as time began to run out for Martinez's men.
Latics continued to push forward looking for the equaliser but it was not to be as the referee brought proceedings to an end after four minutes of stoppage time.
Newcastle: Krul; Simpson, S Taylor, Coloccini, R Taylor; Obertan (Marveaux, 76), Tiote, Cabaye, Gutierrez; Ba (S.Ameobi, 67), Best (Ben Arfa, 45)
Unused Subs:Harper; Santon, Perch, Smith
Latics:Al Habsi; Boyce, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Diame, Watson (McArthur, 81) D. Jones, Moses, Rodallega, Crusat (Sammon, 81).
Unused Subs:Pollitt, Gomez, Thomas, Maloney, Lopez