Wigan Athletic 1 Newcastle 0

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2007 8:08 am    Post subject: Wigan Athletic 1 Newcastle 0  Reply with quote   

February 26, 2007

PAUL JEWELL celebrated becoming Wigan’s longest-serving league manager with one of the most crucial wins of his reign.

Jewell took charge of the club for his 250th league game, exceeding Bryan Hamilton’s previous total over two spells.

And it was a day to remember in his bid to keep the club’s Premiership status intact.

With things getting tight and desperate at the bottom, the Latics needed this victory to maintain distance between themselves and third-bottom Charlton.

And Jewell’s side did so by using those same ingredients that have typified his 6˝ seasons in charge.

Grit and determination were evident throughout — and a little bit of style came, too, in the form of Ryan Taylor’s spectacular 40th-minute winner.

That came just 10 minutes after Newcastle’s Nolberto Solano had missed a penalty.

Jewell said: “That result will go a long way to helping us get over the line. There was a good atmosphere in the ground, the crowd responded and they were tremendous for us.

“John Filan kept us in it with the penalty save and then we got a great goal. We showed great fighting spirit and determination.”

Wigan’s last four games have brought a pair of wins and a draw to go with an unlucky defeat at Arsenal. It is a sure sign that they are winning their survival battle after a nine-game losing streak appeared to be taking them out of the top division.

But Jewell and chairman Dave Whelan have worked too hard in getting the Latics to such heady heights to see it all go wrong in their second campaign up there.

It was only Newcastle’s second league defeat this year.

But it could have been so different had Solano converted from the spot.

Obafemi Martins backheeled to Antoine Sibierski, who raced into the box.

Taylor was behind him and pushed the Frenchman, who went down in spectacular style and Alan Wiley pointed to the spot.

Jewell said: “I was sat in the Arsenal dugout and didn’t see it!”

Wigan were furious, particularly keeper Filan, who felt there had been minimal contact.

But the keeper would have his revenge. Solano’s kick was well struck but Filan leapt full length to beat it away.

It was a special moment for the 37-year-old Aussie, who is the third choice at the JJB.

Salt would soon be rubbed in the Geordies’ wounds at the other end.

When Oguchi Onyewu fouled Leighton Baines, a free-kick was awarded just outside the box.

Everyone prepared themselves for a cross, including keeper Shay Given who was three yards off his line.

Instead, Taylor smacked a superb swerving drive into the far top corner.

It was his first Premiership goal for the club after ending a 13-month injury absence last month.

He broke his leg in a reserve match last April having just recovered from a broken metatarsal.

But those long, dark days in recovery were swept away in an instant as the Scouse full-back, 22, grabbed the winner.

The visitors’ response was poor and only a few scrambles gave the Toon Army anything to get excited about.

Boss Glenn Roeder said: “We are hugely disappointed. We did not capitalise on how well we played in the first half. We had chances to take the lead, the penalty being the best.”

With Newcastle safe in mid-table but out of the FA Cup, their hopes for silverware this season remain in the UEFA Cup, where they are in the last 16.

Wigan still have a battle on their hands at the bottom and face a huge game at Manchester City next week.

Sheffield United and City are just a point ahead of them.

Jewell said: “This result will have pulled some other teams into it.

“Normally one team drops like a stone. When I kept Bradford up, Wimbledon were mid-table with 10 games to go but only got one point from then on and went down.”

In what was far from a dirty game, ref Wiley managed to book two Newcastle players and six from Wigan, which will bring them a fine.

Jewell said: “That takes the shine off things a bit.

“There were two honest teams out there.”

Roeder added: “The ref got very petty. I like to see a ref use common sense.”

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