MATCH REPORTS

Wigan Athletic 0 Newcastle United 1

Joey Barton

Newcastle got the New Year off to a fantastic start by beating Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium thanks to a solitary first-half strike from Shola Ameobi.

The win was the perfect response to defeats against Manchester City and Tottenham over the festive period and a great way to kick-off 2011, with the victory moving United back into the Premier League's top ten.

Around 5,000 travelling Toon fans created a carnival atmosphere in the North-West - support that Alan Pardew described as "like playing at home". And the Geordies were to head back to Tyneside happy after Shola's goal.

The scoreline could have been even better after central defenders Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini both saw headers crash off the crossbar, and Ameobi spurned a great chance to give United an early lead when he miscued a header after just three minutes.

But he more than made up for his miss just before the 20-minute mark. Joey Barton's sweetly struck shot was parried by Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi, and when Peter Lovenkrands' follow-up hit the post, Ameobi was on hand to tap-in from close range.

That lead was almost doubled when Coloccini headed Barton's corner against the bar and soon after, his fellow Argentine Jonás Gutiérrez saw his goal-bound shot smothered by Al Habsi.

After the break, it was yet another Barton delivery that caused the home side all sorts of problems. But much like his defensive partner in the first-half, Steven Taylor saw his header bounce back off the woodwork.

United passed up a further chance to make the game safe when substitute Leon Best overran the ball inside the penalty area, but the visitors hung on to record their fourth away win of the season in the Premier League.

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