Newcastle won this afternoon at St. James’ Park against a 10-man Wigan side after Kevin Kilbane was harshly sent off after 46 minutes for seemingly heading Alan Smith in the back of the head. It was his second yellow card but a very harsh decision by referee Steve Bennett.
Newcastle missed many chances in both halves with the chief culprit being Michael Owen, who missed four golden opportunities to score.
Owen, however, made no mistake with only three minutes remaining when substitute Obafemi Martins crossed to the near post and Michael timed his run to absolute perfection to head past Chris Kirkland for a good opportunist goal and snatch all 3 points for Newcastle.
Michael Owen - scored the winner for Newcastle with only 3 minutes remaining
Newcastle were easily worth the full 3 points, although for much of the game, it appeared their missed chances and the excellent play of Titus Bramble (yes Titus) and goalkeeper Kirkland would keep them at bay.
Newcastle were eventually rewarded in front of a crowd of 50,461 with only 3 minutes remaining and when Owen scored the crowd erupted.
Another good clean sheet from the defense and it looks like Newcastle will not need to score a lot of goals this season to get the points.
Steve Harper in goal made a fantastic save in the first half to keep out Wigan, and we continue to notice how much better he looks under Sam Allardyce. England boss Steve McClaren was again at the game and although Owen eventually scored he missed far too many chances for Newcastle. But to his credit, like the great striker he is, he kept going and eventually got a good opportunist goal for the winner. Two goals in two games now for Michael. Maybe when Owen gets his sharpness back we could have won this 4-0.
In the second half Steven Taylor hit the bar and had a goal ruled out for offside. Nicky Butt and substitute Shola Ameobi also missed gilt-edged chances for the Geordies.
But it was a win and a clean sheet – which is a perfect result for Newcastle – after the transfer successes of yesterday, and we now have 8 points from the first 4 games. A good start and our next game is at derby away two weeks come Monday – we need another 3 points then and the strikers need shooting practice for the next two weeks
The full match report follows:
Michael Owen was in the starting line-up for his first Premiership game of the season as Newcastle look for their first home win of the season. Michael replaced Oba Martins from the team that started at Middlesbrough last weekend.
Steve Harper keeps his place in goal from last week, while Steven Taylor will start at right-back following the injury to Stephen Carr (hamstring) with Cacapa and David Rozehnal paired at the heart of the defense, as we had expected.
Former Newcastle players Antoine Sibierski and Titus Bramble both start for Wigan on their return to St.James’ Park.
Charles N’Zogbia was making his 100th appearance for the club and was moved to left-back after playing in left midfield against Barnsley.
Newcastle: Steve Harper, Steven Taylor, Charles N’Zogbia, Cacapa, David Rozehnal, Alan Smith, Geremi, Nicky Butt, James Milner, Michael Owen, Mark Viduka
Subs: Shay Given, Oba Martins, Matty Pattison, David Edgar, Shola Ameobi
Wigan: Chris Kirkland, Andreas Granqvist, Antoine Sibierski, Kevin Kilbane, Emile Heskey, Jason Koumas, Michael Brown, Denny Landzaat, Titus Bramble, Mario Melchiot, Paul Scharner
Subs: Mike Pollitt, Julius Aghahowa, Emmerson Boyce, Josip Skoko, Marcus Bent
Referee: Steve Bennett
Wigan kick off towards the Gallowgate end.
3min – Geremi’s take a free-kick and Rozehnal and Cacapa challenge with Bramble on the penalty spot but Kirkland collects the ball safely.
8min – Cacapa moves forward from deep and Viduka flicks on to Owen who is through on goal with Kirkland, Owen tries to side-foot into the far corner but Kirkland diverts the ball around the post. A definite chance.
16min â€“ A cross comes in and Bramble heads clear but only to Owen of Bramble 14 yards out, he drills a right-footed shot goal-wards which deflects off Mark Viduka and straight to Michael Owen at the far post and Owen puts the ball in the net from close range but is flagged offside.
19min – Koumas fires goalwards and Steve Harper makes an excellent save at full-stretch to prevent the visitors from taking the lead. The crowd chants “Harper for England”. England coach Steve McClaren is in attendance and certainly Steve is a lot better than some of the goalkeepers England have given caps to these last one or two years.
28min – Taylor sends the ball forward for Michael Owen and Granqvist slips and Owen is again one-on-one with Kirkland. He tries to lift the ball over the keeper with his left-foot but over the cross-bar. Owen should have scored.
36min â€“ Newcastle are pressing and this time it’s Smith whose header has too much height and clears Kirkland’s bar.
39min – Viduka evades a couple of challenges inside Wigan’s area and the ball spins goalwards and Owen is first to react but Bramble recovers to slide clear.
43min – Nicky Butt comes close to opening the scoring but his header from Taylor’s right-wing cross is beaten away by Kirkland on his goal-line. Another real chance goes begging for Newcastle who should have been ahead at the break.
Half time arrives and the story is that Newcastle have had far the better chances and should really be ahead. The worrying thing is when you don’t convert your chances it usually comes back to hurt you. Newcastle need to be sharper in front of goal in the second half.
Mark Viduka has been replaced by Shola Ameobi as Newcastle get the second period underway attacking the Gallowgate End.
46 mins – Kevin Kilbane is sent off for a foul on Alan Smith as they both challenge for the ball. Steven Bennett judges Kevin to have fouled Smith and it’s Kilbane’s second yellow card so he is sent off. It’s a very harsh decision on Wigan and the Wigan players protest to the referee.
58min – Smith is late as he challenges Koumas and the Newcastle is unlucky to enter Bennett’s book for what was a fairly harmless tackle. Koumas is replaced by Bent before the free-kick is taken. Rozehnal clears for the hosts.
61min – There’s yet another yellow card as Scharner is booked for rash tackle on Butt midway inside the Wigan half.62min â€“ Newcastle are continually in the Wigan half for most of the second half and fans are are willing their team on for the goal that will surely win the game.
61min – There’s another yellow card – this time it’s Scharner for a rash challenge on Butt midway inside the Wigan half.
55min – Geremi finds Ameobi with a long ball and it looks like Shola fouls Granqvist but referee Bennett waves play-on and Shola is one-on-one with Kirkland. Shola hits his shot for the far corner and it misses by inches. It looked like Shola had committed the foul and the Wigan players protest â€“ again.
66min – Alan Smith is replaced by Oba Martins and the Nigerian receives another huge reception from the home crowd.
73min â€“ Newcastle miss yet another chance as Ameobi plays in strike partner Owen on the edge of the area and the ball bounces off Bramble’s hand into the path of Nicky Butt, and the midfielder has a clear shot on goal from 12 yards out but blazes way over the bar. Newcastle’s supposed strength â€“ the strikers have missed too many chances.
78min â€“ Time is starting to be Wigan’s ally as Brown is booked for an innocuous challenge on Geremi midway inside Wigan’s half. From Geremi’s free-kick Newcastle have the ball in the net as Taylor blasts in from close range after Kirkland drops Owen’s header. However, a linesman’s flag rules out the goal with Shola offside – from the set-play.
85min â€“ Time is starting to run out for the home side as they try to break down Wigan’s defiant defense and from a corner Bramble beats Ameobi to the ball and Wigan survive.
87min – NEWCASTLE GOAL (1-0) Bramble fails to clear and Taylor collects and feeds Martins on the right. Oba puts over a nice cross towards the near post where Michael Owen slips in front of his man to head beyond Kirkland. It’s an opportunist goal from Owen and one made by the Oba Martins. The crowd erupts.
90min – N’Zogbia gets a yellow card for a late challenge on Brown after he had over-ran the ball. From Brown’s free-kick Harper challenges with Heskey but Harper ends up injured on the six-yard-box. Harper receives treatment from the medical staff but is quickly back on his feet.
There is 4 minutes of added time which Newcastle play out to register their first win of the season at home.
Mission accomplished but Newcastle made it hard for themselves after Wigan were reduced to 10 men just after the break â€“ but 3 points is 3 points and Michael Owen scored the winner.