Late goal sinks Newcastle United after injury controversy

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ALAN Pardew says Newcastle United’s visit to the DW Stadium will “live long in the memory” – for all the wrong reasons.

Pardew’s side were yesterday beaten by Wigan Athletic, with Arouna Kone claiming all three points for Roberto Martinez’s side with a 90th-minute goal.

Referee Mark Halsey missed a handball in the build-up to the strike. But the game’s biggest talking point was the first-half knee injury suffered by Newcastle substitute Massadio Haidara.

“I’ll just say it’s been a day that’ll live long in the memory for all the wrong reasons,” Pardew said.

Wigan’s Callum McManaman caught Haidara – who had come on for Mathieu Debuchy (hamstring) early in the game – high with a reckless lunge.

And the challenge, which went unpunished, led to a half-time confrontation between Newcastle’s assistant manager John Carver and Wigan coach Graham Barrow which continued down to the tunnel. Both were sent off.

However, Pardew, clearly upset at what had happened on the field, chose his words carefully after the game.

“I think the cameras saw all the incidents,” he said. “It speaks for itself, really. I don’t want to say anything more, as I’ll only get myself in trouble.”

Haidara’s injury was today being assessed, and Newcastle fear the left-back, signed from Nancy in January, will miss the rest of the season with ligament damage.

“It looks like he’s done knee ligaments,” added Pardew. “He’s got terrible bruising. It’s not a nice feeling having one of your players going to a hospital for a tackle that’s gone unpunished.”

Haidara hadn’t been on the pitch long, having himself replaced the injured Mathieu Debuchy, who left the pitch clutching his hamstring.

Newcastle, beaten 4-0, at the DW Stadium last season, made a promising start, and Steven Taylor forced a fine early save from Joel Robles with a powerful header from a Sylvain Marveaux corner.

Pardew was forced into a defensive reshuffle after Debuchy left the field in the 13th minute. Haidara came on, and Davide Santon was switched to right-back. And Santon had a part to play in Wigan’s opener.

McManaman’s cross from the left bounced off Santon, and Jean Beausejour was there to roll the ball past Rob Elliot in the 18th minute.

It got worse for Newcastle. McMananan caught Haidara on the knee, and the left-back was stretchered off after lengthy treatment. Remarkably, McManaman wasn’t even booked by referee Mark Halsey, who stopped play for a handball, not the tackle.

The challenge incensed United’s players, and Pardew, having lost a second full-back, was forced into another reshuffle. James Perch was brought on, with Gutierrez dropping back into defence.

Shaun Maloney forced a low save from Elliot just past the half-hour mark and a last-ditch sliding tackle from Gutierrez stopped James McCarthy adding to Wigan’s advantage before the break.

Papiss Cisse was presented with United’s best chance deep in first-half injury-time, but the striker put the ball well over Robles’ crossbar.

In the second half, Cisse put one chance over Robles’ goal, but opportunities were few and far between for United, who struggled to find any kind of rhythm going forward.

Shola Ameobi replaced Yoan Gouffran in the 67th minute as thick yellow smoke from a flare let off in the away end filled the stadium.

However, as the smoke lifted, so did the mood in the away end. Cisse found Santon breaking forward on the right with a flick, and the full-back side-stepped a challenge before drilling the ball into the far corner of the net.

With Wigan needing wins, not draws, to pull away from trouble, Franco Di Santo was sent on by Martinez.

Cisse could have won it for Newcastle, the striker forcing a late save from Robles.

As it was, Arouna Kone struck in the 90th minute after a comedy of errors in the United box.

The ball – which was handled by Maynor Figueroa – bobbled and bounced about for several heart-stopping seconds before Kone pounced.

It capped another miserable afternoon for Newcastle at the DW Stadium.

Wigan: Robles, Scharner, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, Gomez, Beausejour (Di Santo 79), Maloney, Kone, McManaman (McArthur 58). Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Caldwell, Henriquez, Stam, Golobart. Booked: Scharner. Goals: Beausejour 18, Kone 90.

Newcastle: Elliot, Debuchy (Haidara 13), Steven Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon, Marveaux, Tiote, Gutierrez, Gouffran (Ameobi 67), Sissoko, Cisse, Haidara (Perch 27). Subs Not Used: Harper, Anita, Gosling, Obertan. Booked: Perch, Gutierrez. Goals: Santon 72.

Att: 22,297 Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).