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Premier League

  • October 22, 2011
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Referee: N. Swarbrick
  • • Attendance: 48321
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Newcastle United 1-0 Wigan Athletic: Yohan Cabaye strikes late as top-four hosts are made to work hard for victory

The French midfielder curled home an 81st minute winner after an unconvincing display by Alan Pardew's side that nevertheless maintains its place in the Premier League top four

Yohan Cabaye’s late winner broke Wigan Athletic hearts and handed Newcastle United a barely deserved 1-0 win that keeps it in the Premier League top four.

Cabaye struck in the closing stages after the visitors had seen a host of goalscoring opportunities pass by. The French playmaker finally found the top corner with deadly precision from 25 yards out for the lone goal of the game.

While Newcastle remained near the top, the result sent the Latics to the bottom of the table on goal difference.

Alan Pardew made no changes to the side that drew 2-2 against Tottenham Hotspur, electing to stick with Demba Ba and Leon Best in attack despite Shola Ameobi’s superb late equalizer in that match.

Roberto Martinez was able to welcome Maynor Figueroa back into the fray at left back while Albert Crusat and Hugo Rodallega replaced James McCarthy and Franco Di Santo.

The visitors started on the front foot as Mohammed Diame had a penalty shout turned down and Victor Moses hit a volley on target, only to see it turned over. The close calls sparked Newcastle into action but Wigan continued to have the better of the proceedings, enjoying a numerical superiority in the midfield, stifling Newcastle when it was on the ball.

Jonas Gutierrez had an effort turned behind while Diame tested Krul on the other end, but both teams were largely wasteful with possession in the first half.

Pardew sacrificed Best at the break in order to introduce Hatem Ben Arfa with the intention of bridging the gap between the Magpies’ midfield and attack.

The change seemed to work, as Newcastle created two chances within five minutes of the restart as Obertan fired over before Ba had his headed effort stopped.

Wigan continued to counter attack with menace but on this evidence, it is not difficult to see why it has managed just six Premier League goals this season as the team was not able to connect on a final ball despite some positive play.

With his side still struggling to maintain any sort of sustained pressure, Pardew threw Ameobi and Sylvain Marveaux into the fray and it was the latter who laid on the decisive goal. Marveaux chested down Ryan Taylor’s cross from the left at the back post by the Frenchman and rolled back to Cabaye, who curled it wonderfully past Al-Habsi into the top corner.

There was an air of inevitability about the goal, which came after a particularly good Wigan spell, as the visitors were once again punished for simply not taking the chances presented to them – a fact highlighted further shortly after the goal, when Moses and Diame spurned two golden opportunities.

Unconvincing it certainly was – but Newcastle once again found a way as igx dream start to the Premier League season rolls on.

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