By Chief Sports Writer, Marley Anderson

Newcastle ended their miserable run of form as they rolled over ten-man Wigan 3-0 at St James’ Park. A brace from Demba Ba – one from the penalty spot after Maynor Figueroa was punished – did the damage before Gael Bigirimana fired a late stunner to open his Geordie goal scoring account.

The game undoubtedly hinged on the penalty decision, with referee Lee Mason sending Figueroa off as he bundled Papiss Cisse off the ball when he was clean through. Opinions on the challenge are split, although when Mason decided it was a foul, Figueroa had to walk.

It was the luck that Newcastle needed as they looked to put a stop to a four-game losing run and they capitalised on Wigan’s diminished side when Ba tapped home a parried Davide Santon shot, before Bigirimana’s late strike topped things nicely.

Newcastle started brightly and played as well as they have all season. Gone were the long, hopeful punts up towards Ba and Cisse and a more measured approach soon reaped its rewards. After just 20 seconds, Tiote worried Al-Habsi with a long range strike which flew inches wide of the Gallowgate goal.

The Ivorian midfielder was by far the busiest and most impressive man in the opening stages as he covered every blade of grass in an attempt to inspire his side. It certainly worked, although he could have had his customary booking within two minutes, as two separate fouls would certainly have led to him seeing yellow had they happened later in the game.

When Wigan managed to negotiate a way round Tiote, they managed to test Krul in the Newcastle goal. The Toon ‘keeper palmed away a long range effort from Franco Di Santo before two corners were dealt with by the Magpies’ defensive ranks.

Newcastle reasserted their dominance soon after though and the moment that changed the match soon came. There was no surprise that Tiote was involved as he fed Ba, who in turn slid a pass through to Cisse. With only the keeper to beat from eight yards out, Figueroa barged into the Senegal striker and conceded a penalty, getting a red card to boot. Ba stepped up and slotted past Al-Habsi easily, allowing the Toon Army to breathe a huge sigh of relief.

The space left by the dismissal of Figueroa was allowing Newcastle to gain confidence and they looked like scoring again as they dominated possession.

The second goal didn’t take long, as the home side kept the ball and moved their opponents all round the pitch before striking. Still without a solid formation after Figueroa’s dismissal, Santon attacked down the left before cutting in and smashing a shot at Al-Habsi. The Arabian goalkeeper could only palm it into the path of Ba, who made no mistake as he followed up from close range.

Wigan finally withdrew Jordi Gomez and fashioned something of a solid system, but the extra space was only allowing Newcastle to push on and dominate further. One particular beneficiary was Sylvain Marveaux, who showed good control and excellent dribbling to cause problems on numerous occasions.

The Frenchman almost made it 3-0 with a strong run and weak shot which Al-Habsi made a meal of, but the home side were well in control and Wigan were glad to hear the half-time whistle.

At half-time, both managers tweaked their sides and the result was a more competitive half as Newcastle tried to sit on their lead, while Wigan patched up their defence. Former Newcastle defender Gary Caldwell was taken off as a precaution – the Scotland international lucky to stay on after riding his luck when on a yellow card after a couple of tangles with Ba.

Bigirimana came on for Tiote and was involved in a lovely move when Marveaux burst forward and beat three men before the former Coventry man fired a tame shot at Al-Habsi. However, 20 minutes later it was a different story when “Bigi” smashed home and wrapped up the three points.

Newcastle also finished with only ten men as Ba was taken off as a precaution with a tight hamstring but should be fit for his next game, whether that be Bordeaux on Thursday or Fulham one week from now.