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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 August 2006, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Newcastle 2-1 Wigan
By Saj Chowdhury

Shola Ameobi
Ameobi (centre) opened his account for the season
Shola Ameobi's second-half strike was enough to give Newcastle all three points against a dogged Wigan side on a rain-drenched day at St James' Park.

The Magpies took the lead through Scott Parker, who got the final touch after good work from Ameobi on the left.

Wigan hit back after the break when Lee McCulloch curled in from eight yards following Emile Heskey's nod down.

But Ameobi denied the visitors a draw after pouncing on Chris Kirkland's parry from Charles N'Zogbia's shot.

It was hard work for the players on a pitch which was almost unplayable as a result of persistent rain.

But despite the conditions, both sides performed admirably and provided ample entertainment.


Many have backed Wigan to fall through the Premiership trapdoor this season, but this display would give those punters something to think about.

Latics manager Paul Jewell gave six of his new signings their league debut, and they gelled together immediately.

Two players stood out - the often berated Heskey and Ecuador's World Cup star Luis Valencia.

Heskey, Wigan's record signing, was a handful for Magpies centre-backs Craig Moore and Titus Bramble.

The former Liverpool, Leicester and Birmingham striker almost scored in the opening minutes when he took advantage of a Bramble slip only to screw his low shot wide.

Heskey's presence allowed Henri Camara and Valencia more space to shine, too.

And the duo combined to almost give Wigan a goal, Valencia delivering a great ball that Camara headed on to Shay Given's right-hand post.

Newcastle had already opened the scoring through Parker by that stage.

Ameobi, who started up front on his own, found it difficult to control the ball in the wet until seven minutes before half-time.

The lanky striker chested down Stephen Carr's long pass, ran into the area and checked inside before clipping the ball into the six-yard area.

Parker fended off Paul Scharner to head past Kirkland, although the ball may have come off both players.

The visitors could have felt hard done by going into the break a goal down, but they equalised soon after the re-start thanks to McCulloch, who made the most of Newcastle's inability to clear the ball.

The game appeared to be going Wigan's way before the home side struck back thanks to the precocious talent of N'Zogbia, who replaced the injured Nicky Butt.

The French midfielder picked up the ball from Damien Duff 40 yards from goal before driving in a fierce low shot that Kirkland could only parry.

Unfortunately for the England international, Ameobi was on hand to score his first of what Newcastle fans will hope will be many goals this season.

Camara and Denny Landzaat came close for Wigan late in the game, but Newcastle hung on.

  • Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder:
    "Am I pleased to get three points? On the opening day of the season, anyone would be.

    "Overall, it was a deserved three points even though Wigan made it difficult for us.

    "They have two banks of four working very hard and making it difficult for the opposition, and two strikers who will be hard to play against."

  • Wigan boss Paul Jewell:
    "For me Shay Given was taking ages with every goal-kick and free-kick and kicking the ball away.

    "We got two bookings, but our keeper has got ice on his leg from a nasty challenge.  "I thought there was a rule against booking Newcastle players today, but obviously that changed with the booking of (Albert) Luque at the end."

    Newcastle: Given, Carr, Bramble, Moore (Taylor 45), Babayaro, Solano, Parker, Butt (N'Zogbia 16), Emre, Duff, Ameobi (Luque 76).
    Subs Not Used: Harper, Milner.

    Booked: Luque.

    Goals: Parker 38, Ameobi 64.

    Wigan: Kirkland, Boyce, De Zeeuw, Hall, Baines, Valencia (Connolly 90), Scharner, Landzaat (Kavanagh 87), McCulloch, Heskey, Camara.
    Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Jackson, Wright.

    Booked: Heskey, Valencia.

    Goals: McCulloch 59.

    Att: 51,569

    Ref: M Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

    Saturday's football photos
    19 Aug 06 |  Football


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