Magpies grab late equalizer to take a point from trying contest.Wigan Athletic were denied a victory as Newcastle United grabbed a late equalizer at St James' park. Charles N'Zogbia had given the visitors a two goal lead before substitute Shola Ameobi and captain Fabricio Coloccini scored headers to recover a point for the home side.
The first chance came for the hosts in the 15th minute. Jonas Gutierrez combined well with Jose Enrique on the left flank to release the left-back into space. The defender charged forward into the penalty area and drove a low cross into the center. Andy Carroll slid in to try to get onto the end of it, but Ali Al-Habsi was brave and dived at the feet of the Newcastle United forward to collect possession.
Newcastle them nearly gifted the visitors an opening goal. Captain Fabricio Coloccini did well to disrupt a Wigan attack down the right flank before playing the ball across to his central defensive partner Mike Williamson. Williamson dawdled in possession and was closed down by James McCarthy, the 19-year-old stole in to nick the ball but was denied by Tim Krul who came off his line quickly to close down the midfielder.
The hosts didn’t heed this warning and were soon a goal down. Franco Di Santo skipped past Enrique before crossing into the back post area. Surprisingly, the diminutive N'Zogbia towered above his marker and powered his header back across goal and into the top right-hand corner beyond the helpless Krul.
Newcastle conceded another in a matter of minutes, and the build-up was almost identical. Joey Barton lost possession in midfield and Wigan broke down the right flank. The ball came to Di Santo and he spotted N'Zogbia alone at the back post. As the ball came across to the Frenchman he had time to take two touches to compose himself, controlling on his chest before hammering a thunderbolt beyond Krul into the back of the net: 2-0 to Wigan.
The visitors managed to put Wigan under pressure as the half-time whistle approached. The ball was lumped into the penalty area and Carroll met the cross with a solid header that zipped towards the bottom left-hand corner of the goal. It was a congested penalty area, and although Al-Habsi was beaten, Emerson Boyce was on hand to mop up and clear the danger.
Newcastle started the second half in a more committed way and they almost capitalized as Antolin Alcaraz slipped on the edge of the penalty area. Peter Lovenkrands skipped past the defender but was dispossessed by a brilliant sliding challenge by Hendry Thomas as the midfielder got back to cover as Lovenkrands shaped to shoot.
Lovenkrands had another chance to get one back for Newcastle as the ball fell to him in the Wigan penalty area. He didn’t look very confident and dwelt on the ball before Al-Habsi dived at his feet to collect the ball. The ex-Rangers man was soon replaced in favor of Ameobi.
Ameobi had a much greater impact on proceedings and gave Newcastle a lifeline when he scored a header. Gutierrez dribbled at Boyce on the left-flank before delivering a good cross into the middle of the penalty area where Ameobi leaped above his marker to power his header into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal: 2-1 to Wigan.
Newcastle put up a spirited late fight back with Andy Carroll sneaking the ball home as the full-time whistle approached. It looked as if Al-Habsi had made a handling error under pressure from Carroll but the assistant spotted that the striker had used his hand to knock the ball out of the arms of the Wigan goalkeeper and correctly disallowed the goal.
However, just as all looked to be lost for Newcastle they grabbed an equalizer deep into stoppage time. Gutierrez swung a wonderful cross into the back post area from a corner on the right and Coloccini rose above his marker to power his header beyond Al-Habsi to give Newcastle a point that perhaps on balance they deserved.
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