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Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Friday, 26 December 2008

Wigan 2-1 Newcastle

By Owen Phillips

Ryan Taylor (l) and Mario Melchiot
Taylor (left) celebrates his opener with Mario Melchiot

Ryan Taylor continued his remarkable goalscoring form against Newcastle, notching his fourth goal in four games against them to set up Wigan's victory.

The midfielder curled in a delightful 25-yard free-kick to open the scoring.

Amr Zaki rammed home number two from the penalty spot after Emile Heskey was tugged to the ground by Sebastien Bassong, who was also sent off.

Danny Guthrie's penalty then made it 2-1 late on after Chris Kirkland felled Andy Carroll but Wigan held on.

Damien Duff almost stole a point in injury-time but he lashed an effort wildly wide from 10 yards with the goal at his mercy.

A draw would have been very tough on a Latics side who controlled much of the game and appeared to be coasting to victory when Zaki made it 2-0 from the penalty spot after Bassong's clumsy challenge on Heskey.

The Newcastle centre-half's initial foul was about 20 yards outside the area but Heskey cleverly worked his way into the area before Bassong's persistent pulling and tugging saw the England man collapse in a heap.

Kinnear 'livid' with decisions that cost Magpies

And although Newcastle will have complaints about the manner of the goal which confirmed their first defeat in four away games, they can have no complaints about the result.

Newcastle must be sick of the sight of Taylor. The midfielder can hardly be described as a regular goalscorer, or indeed an automatic first choice starter.

Yet he notched when the two sides drew earlier this season and his second goal of the season set Steve Bruce's men on their way to victory this time.

Taylor curled in a superb free-kick on 29 minutes in an enjoyable Boxing Day contest between two of the Premier League's form teams.

Newcastle had lost just two of 12 games under Joe Kinnear going into this fixture while Wigan had taken 11 points from the last 18 on offer.

And although both sides looked dangerous going forward in the early stages and the visitors twice looked like taking the lead, the Latics played with confidence and quality and were worthy winners.

It might have been different had Newcastle, who had to cope with injuries to Jose Enrique in the warm-up and Habib Beye in the early stages of the game, taken advantage of an end-to-end start to the match.

Michael Owen had the first sight of goal only to be denied the chance to test keeper Kirkland by a brilliant recovery tackle from Paul Scharner.

But the home side's best chance came when Viduka's goalbound header from Guthrie's corner was cleared off the line by Mario Melchiot.

It was Wigan who were posing the greater threat; Zaki and Heskey were getting plenty of the ball and the class and creativity of Wilson Palacios and Antonio Valencia were a constant menace to the home defence.


Zaki went close with a header after great work by Palacios and Valencia then came within inches of putting the Latics ahead and the lively Zaki was again involved.

The big striker latched on to Heskey's header and delivered a wonderful teasing cross which Valencia flicked narrowly wide.

After the break a fingertip save by Shay Given denied Taylor a second goal and Taylor then blazed a tough chance over after another flowing move from Steve Bruce's side.

Zaki seemed to have settled the match when he coolly netted from the spot.

But Kinnear's men caused a few moments of panic in the final few minutes when Kirkland's rash challenge saw substitute Carroll bundled over in the box.

Guthrie knocked in the resulting penalty and there was still time for Duff to shoot wide with the goal gaping and for Guthrie to have strong appeals for a penalty waved away by referee Mike Dean.

But Wigan held on to ensure they maintained their 100 per cent Premier League home record against Newcastle.

Wigan manager Steve Bruce:
"We've created chaos in the last five minutes. We comprehensively won the game but in the last five minutes we've caused carnage to ourselves.

"It took the gloss of what was otherwise a really good performance where we were the worthy victors.

"We were comfortable, they go down to 10 men and we were seeing out the game and then all of a sudden it becomes difficult."

Bruce happy despite late Wigan lapses

"I thought their second shout for a penalty at the end was more of a penalty than the first one."

Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear on referee Mike Dean:
"I can't find words to express his (Dean's) performance. If he gives a penalty for Heskey why couldn't he for Andy Carroll?

"Heskey has done well, thrown himself and lost his balance. But he's 6ft 3in. The referees fall for it. At the other end Andy Carroll's got hacked down from behind. See it on TV, see it on the tape, it's a clear penalty. Even Stevie Bruce said the same but we didn't get it. That sums up his performance.

"In the last 15 minutes I always thought we'd get something out of the game. Then the penalty pops us, but you have to rely on officials to do their job, what they are supposed to do.

"They want respect in the game but what would you say after today. I'm too sick to say anything else."

Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Scharner, Figueroa, Valencia, Cattermole, Palacios (Kilbane 90), Taylor (Brown 71), Heskey (Camara 85), Zaki.
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Koumas, Boyce, De Ridder.

Booked: Cattermole, Palacios.

Goals: Taylor 29, Zaki 73 pen.

Newcastle: Given, Beye (Taylor 38), Coloccini, Bassong, N'Zogbia, Gutierrez, Butt, Guthrie, Duff, Owen (Edgar 77), Viduka (Carroll 68).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Xisco, Geremi, LuaLua.

Sent Off: Bassong (72).

Booked: Butt, Duff, Carroll.

Goals: Guthrie 88 pen. Att: 20,266

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Wigan's Antonio Valencia 7.24 (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.

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see also
Premier League as it happened
26 Dec 08 |  Premier League
Boxing Day football photos
26 Dec 08 |  Football

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