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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 December 2007, 17:01 GMT
Wigan 1-0 Newcastle
By Jonathan Stevenson

Ryan Taylor (left) celebrates his winning goal
Taylor (left) celebrates his winning goal with Kevin Kilbane
Ryan Taylor's fine second-half free-kick earned Wigan victory over Newcastle at the JJB Stadium.

A disappointing contest was settled by Taylor's brilliant 25-yard effort after Alan Smith had fouled Michael Brown.

After a shocking first half the game improved, with Titus Bramble heading a Mark Viduka shot off the line and Paul Scharner forcing Shay Given to save.

Given saved another long-range Taylor strike soon after as Wigan pressed and they easily held on for three points.

The win lifts the Latics out of the Premier League relegation zone, but will provide Magpies boss Sam Allardyce with some real food for thought.

If anyone was looking for an advert for a winter break in the Premier League, the first half at Wigan was it.

For two teams both in half-decent form of late - with only one defeat between them in their last eight games - it was excruciating fare at times.


The defences were well on top as both teams struggled to put together a succession of passes, the Boxing Day crowd growing ever more frustrated.

The best chance of openings being created was down the flanks, with Brown for Wigan and Newcastle's James Milner both making progress only to fail to pick out a team-mate with their cross.

Antonio Valencia skipped past three men down the right for Wigan, but his teasing centre was a fraction too high for the on-rushing Marcus Bent.

Whatever Christmas spirit the players were fuelled with at half-time seemed to do the trick as the tempo of the game lifted after the interval.

Newcastle nearly went ahead when Chris Kirkland's clearance struck Scharner and Viduka reacted brilliantly to hook the ball over his head and goalwards from 22 yards, only for Bramble to race back and head off the line.

Wigan replied and Scharner chested the ball down from 30 yards and smashed in a volley that Given scurried across his line to gather.

With 25 minutes left, the hosts went in front and it was a goal quite out of keeping with the quality of the contest.

Smith brought down Brown 25 yards out and with a clinical swing of his right boot, Taylor whipped the free-kick over the wall and into the far corner of Given's net.

Taylor nearly doubled the lead soon after, the 23-year-old trying his luck from the left-hand edge of the 18-yard box and forcing Given to push the ball behind for a corner.

Obafemi Martins came on for Newcastle, but apart from one dangerous run down the left, he never threatened to get the visitors back on level terms.

  • Wigan manager Steve Bruce:
    "The players' attitude and application was there for all to see.

    "If we can keep that up we'll stay out of the bottom three. The player needed a bit of belief and they've got it now.

    "I've thoroughly enjoyed the month I have been here, we've given some good teams good games and today we came out on top against another good side."

  • Newcastle assistant boss Nigel Pearson:
    "It's disappointing to put in a performance like that, we should be doing better in these games.

    "We've no doubt it is the type of display which is way below par. We are Jekyll and Hyde and it's not good enough, we must find some consistency.

    "We understand the fans' frustration, booing us off. I can assure everyone we are working hard to put this right."

    Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Scharner, Bramble, Kilbane, Valencia, Brown, Landzaat, Taylor (Olembe 74), Bent, Sibierski (Aghahowa 70).
    Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Boyce, Skoko.

    Booked: Brown.

    Goals: Taylor 65.

    Newcastle: Given, Beye, Taylor, Faye, N'Zogbia, Milner, Smith, Geremi (Martins 66), Emre, Duff (Jose Enrique 78), Viduka.
    Subs Not Used: Harper, Cacapa, Butt.

    Booked: Milner, Emre, Smith, Taylor.

    Att: 20,304

    Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).

    BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match:
    Newcastle's Shay Given 6.88 (on 90 minutes).

  • Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

    How to watch Match of the Day
    08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day
    Premier League Boxing Day photos
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