St. James' Park
Barclays Premier League
By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 3 (Ba 13pen, 21; Bigirimana 71)
Wigan Athletic 0
Newcastle United bounced back to winning ways in emphatic fashion on Monday night with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over ten-man Wigan Athletic at St. James' Park.
And it was no more than the Magpies deserved for an impressive home performance which gave them their first Premier League win since the end of October.
Their task was made slightly easier, however, by the early straight red card issued to Wigan defender Maynor Figueroa for knocking down Papiss Cisse as he ran through on goal.
Ba slotted home the spot-kick and was on hand soon after to add a second when Davide Santon's shot was spilled by Latics keeper Ali Al Habsi.
But the best was saved 'til last as youngster Bigirimana stepped in off the right wing to send a brilliant strike into the top corner and open his Newastle account.
United started brightly and had created an opening inside 23 seconds, when Cheick Tiote strode past a challenge and then let fly from 25 yards with a drive which whistled narrowly past the upright.
But the visitors went up the other end almost immediately and a short free-kick was worked into the path of Franco Di Santo, with the Argentine international's curling strike having to be beaten away by a full-stretch Tim Krul.
After four successive Premier League defeats, Newcastle were looking for a good start and got just that on 12 minutes when they were awarded a penalty.
Ba slipped a lovely ball through into the path of Cisse, who was bundled to the floor by the challenge of Figueroa around 12 yards out.
Referee Mike Jones had no hesitation in awarding a penalty - issuing the Latics man a straight red card in the process - and Ba duly despatched the spot-kick into the bottom corner for his ninth goal of another prolific season.
United had a numerical advantage over their opponents and soon made that count as Ba doubled his - and the Magpies' - advantage at St. James' Park.
Santon rampaged forward from his left-back berth, cut inside and fired a long-range shot goalwards which was too hot for Al Habsi to handle and Ba clinically tucked home the loose ball.
Sylvain Marveaux almost got in on the act just past the half hour mark when a lovely passage of passing play presented him with the ball in space.
The Frenchman, making just his second league start of the season, was given the room to drive forward and only a fingertip stop from Al Habsi prevented his low shot from sneaking in the far corner.
And seconds later he curled a 25-yard free-kick agonisingly wide, this time with the Wigan keeper completely beaten.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew made a change at half-time, replacing Tiote with youngster Bigirimana, but it was Wigan who made the sharper start to the second period, with a Ronnie Stam cross causing chaos before Franco Di Santo fired well over from distance.
While everything seemed to be going to plan for United, their injury problems struck again four minutes after the restart as Santon limped off holding his groin, with young Shane Ferguson on in his place.
But that failed to hold them back and Marveaux almost made it three on 52 minutes when he jinked through a handful of challenges but couldn't beat Al Habsi with a low strike.
The home side clearly weren't content to sit on their lead and Cisse went close, firing a half-volley over the top having latched onto Vurnon Anita's lofted pass.
On 70 minutes Cisse ended a neat, flowing move with a wild left-footed shot but less than 60 seconds later Bigirimana showed him how it's done.
Marveaux was again at the heart of things, pulling the strings to find the summer signing wide on the right. And Bigirimana cut inside before curling an outstanding effort past the despairing grasp of Al Habsi and into the top corner.
Both sides finished the game with ten men as Ba hobbled down the tunnel with Newcastle having made all three of their substitutions, but Cisse nearly bagged number four when he forced Al Habsi into a decent stop with time ticking away.
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon (Shane Ferguson 49); Vurnon Anita, Cheick Tiote (Gael Bigirimana 46); Papiss Cisse, Sylvain Marveaux, Jonas Gutierrez (Sammy Ameobi 76); Demba Ba
Wigan (3-4-3): Ali Al Habsi; Emmerson Boyce, Gary Caldwell (c) (Adrian Lopez, 46), Maynor Figueroa; Ronnie Stam, James McCarthy, David Jones, Jean Beausejour; Arouna Kone, Franco Di Santo (Callum McManaman 83), Jordi Gomez (James McArthur 22)
Subs not used: Mike Pollitt, Roman Golobart, Fraser Fyvie, Mauro Boselli
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)
Bookings: Newcastle United - Sammy Ameobi (77); Wigan Athletic - Beausejour (14), Caldwell (30), Di Santo (66)
Sendings off: Newcastle United - none; Wigan Athletic - Figueroa (12)
Attendance: 43,858 (279 Wigan)