With Andy Carroll out because of a thigh injury, Ameobi performed admirably in his stead, playing as the lone battering ram in attack.
However only the Geordie striker knows how he failed to give his side the lead in the third minute, when he inexplicably headed over Danny Simpson's delightful cross from the right from four yards.
Play quickly switched to the other end, where Tom Cleverley twice went close to giving his side the lead. The first chance was created when he shifted a foot sideways before launching a brilliant 18-yard shot which the recalled and fit-again Steve Harper did well to palm away.
Cleverley, on loan from Manchester United, then wasted an easier opportunity when he volleyed over Mohamed Diame's cross from close range.
Despite those two opportunities, and another when former Magpie Gary Caldwell headed on to the bar and Hugo Rodallega scooped over, Newcastle had the upper hand for most of the match.
Lovenkrands, who has played only a bit-part this campaign having been so integral last season, had a handful of opportunities to add to Newcastle's lead.
Martinez defiant after 'worst performance'
The Dane was unlucky on the first occasion when he desperately tried to untangle his feet in order to convert Barton's ball from the right. the ex-Rangers man then had a shot blocked by Antolin Alcaraz and followed that up with a header that was cleared by keeper Ali Al Habsi.
Newcastle's Argentines could have doubled the advantage, with defender Coloccini heading Barton's corner-ball against the bar, in what was clearly a training-ground move, before Jonas Gutierrez had his shot smothered by Oman stopper Al Habsi.
The second 45 minutes produced less of a feast of chances. Wigan replaced Hendry Thomas with James McArthur and then brought on forward Mario Boselli for the largely ineffective midfielder Jordi Gomez.
The changes made little difference. The problem for the Latics was that when they did have possession they either gave it up easily with a poor pass or were closed down quickly, more often than not by the snappy terrier Cheik Tiote.
Newcastle character pleases Pardew
They failed to make the most of their early second-half dominance with Harper, back in in the starting line-up after recovering from a shoulder injury, only called into action when he had to pick up the loose ball from behind his goal.
Newcastle created the only two clear-cut openings of the half, with Taylor heading another Barton free-kick against the bar before substitute striker Leon Best over-ran the ball after an impressive run into the area on the right.
But it was a day when the Magpies could afford to be profligate in front of goal against a Wigan outfit who were far more wasteful.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez: "It was a very scrappy game. We were quite poor and not up to the level we can achieve.
"After a very slow start we began to show a threat but it was one of those games where the first goal was important. We could not find a way to impose ourselves.
"It is time to look forward and get ready for Wednesday. I think maybe the number of games we played has taken its toll."
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew: "We worked hard and were disciplined and did the right things at the right times.
"The group has shown all season we're of good character and some of the disciplines we showed were first class.
"The most important message for a club as big as us is that we should expect to win every game, regardless of the opposition, and then we see where we fall."
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