A typical day out in Wigan for luckless Newcastle

Posted by Marc Duffy

Massadio Haidara gets treatment as Newcastle's players protest to referee Mark HalseyGettyImagesMassadio Haidara gets treatment as Newcastle's players protest to referee Mark Halsey

What is it about Wigan and Newcastle United? Newcastle usually arrive on Wigan's doorstep when the Latics are struggling in the bottom three and usually lose at the narcissistically named DW stadium, where they have only won once. Sunday was no different as the Magpies lost 2-1.

- Brown: Wigan's great escape still on, just
- Toon boss Pardew hits out at Halsey


The first half was memorable only for a shocking tackle by Wigan forward Calum McManaman on Masaido Haidara that should have been an automatic red, but for which the Premier League debutant escaped punishment, and Newcastle's only effort on target was a Steven Taylor header in the ninth minute.

After Magpies' full-back Matthieu Debuchy went off with a hamstring injury (yes yet another hamstring injury) Haidara came on and switched sides with Davide Santon. Five minutes later Santon failed to clear a cross from the right and a joyous Jean Beausejour claimed an easy first goal for Wigan. To rub salt into the wound of Newcastle's sloppy defending, it was the Chilean's first goal in two years.

Now, to that tackle!

In the earlier 13.30 kick off on Sunday at Sunderland, Mark Bunn, the Norwich keeper, was sent off for an accidental handball just outside the box. Two hours later Calum McManaman follows through with a knee-high tackle that looks to all intents and purposes like a career-threatening challenge and gets nothing.

Not only was McManaman not even booked, but the freekick eventually awarded during that particular passage of play was for a further challenge a few seconds later, involving another player, as Haidara writhed in agony before being stretchered off after prolonged treatment. James Perch came on as his replacement.

The word at half time was the injury looked serious. Let's hope not.

Newcastle assistant manager John Carver was banished to the stands after confronting McManaman as he left the pitch at half time. An ironic injustice as the perpetrator of the tackle was free to enjoy his cup of tea before returning to the playing field for the second half.

The inconsistency of referees is staggering, I appreciate they have a difficult job but this was rank bad refereeing from Mark Halsey, who no doubt will not suffer as a result of the decision, while Newcastle, who went on to lose the game against a Wigan team that should have been reduced to ten men, and Haidara certainly did.

The first 20 minutes of the second half saw Newcastle push forward only for progress to be halted by a poor pass or the usual high ball into the box, which was easily cleared.

After 67 minutes Shola Ameobi replaced Yoan Gouffran and a few minutes later Davide Santon made amends for his poor defending with a wonderful strike with his right foot after cutting inside. Santon's first goal for the club was greeted with delirious celebrations by both the travelling Toon Army and the defender's team-mates.

Wigan, needing the points, pushed forward and for the next 18 minutes the game ebbed and flowed.

Then the inevitable happened. Eighty eight minutes and a Wigan corner was handled by a Wigan player, an incident again missed by Halsey, the ball ricocheted off three or four players before Arouna Kone prodded it home, a massive injustice, a huge disappointment and another defeat at Wigan.

TV replays of Sunday's game verified the following: Referee Halsey missed both a dangerous tackle and subsequent automatic red card and handball by Wigan player prior to their second goal.

What concerns me is this: Newcastle can claim their share of possession in most games but their threat to the opposition goal at the DW Stadium was minimal. One effort on target in the first half v Wigan is not inspiring.

To sum up, Newcastle were extremely unfortunate due to a number of bad decisions and it has to be said not great defending. Let's hope Haidara can play again and the Magpies don't have to go to Wigan next season.

There will be more from Marc (currently stranded on his way back from the game because his plane was struck by lightening on its inward journey) on the fallout from the horror tackle on Monday.

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