Newcastle United missed the chance to move into the top half of the Premier League as they slipped to a controversial defeat at Wigan. Arouna Kone won it for the home side with just 20 seconds remaining when he scrambled home a corner, but the game will be remembered for a sickening tackle by Callum McManaman.

The Latics youngster lunged in on Newcastle substitute Massadio Haidara and left the Frenchman in a heap on the floor, an injury suspected to be a broken leg or ligament damage. Referee Mark Halsey had a shocking afternoon and completely ignored the tackle, refusing to even caution McManaman for the wild lunge.

It was an afternoon to forget for Newcastle, who had already lost Mathieu Debuchy to injury before his replacement was hacked down by McManaman. Wigan’s late winner was also controversial as there was a clear handball by Maynor Figueroa in the build up, before Kone touched home.

This time of year is famous for being the time where Wigan start to play good football and they did just that against a Newcastle side nursing something of a European hangover after their Thursday night heroics against Anzhi Makhachkala.

Newcastle’s man of the match from that night – Steven Taylor – had the Magpies’ best chance of the first half when he headed a corner towards goal, only for debutant goalkeeper Joel Robles to make a simple save.

Wigan were the better side from the off though and took the lead in the 18th minute. McManaman beat Haidara down the right flank and crossed to the far post, where Jean Beausejour controlled after Davide Santon’s mistake and slotted home under Rob Elliot.

Then came the controversy though, as Haidara was pole-axed by McManaman’s tackle. Halsey and his assistants didn’t see the incident and once the Newcastle bench had seen the replays, there was ill-feeling towards the Wigan man.

It spilled over at half-time when John Carver waited for McManaman to come off the pitch before giving him an earful. The clash sparked a brawl on the touchline and neither Carver nor one of the Wigan coaches appeared for the second half.

With Newcastle still second best after the restart, a change from the visitors seemed to help. Shola Ameobi came on to give the Magpies an extra striker and the switch allowed Santon to forage forward more frequently.

And it was Santon who equalised when Wigan gave the ball away three times from their own throw-in. Papiss Cisse hooked a pass through for the Italian and the defender made no mistake, firing low past Joel for his first senior goal.

The Geordies tried to grab a third last-gasp winner in three games as they pressured and almost had it through a likely source when Cisse’s clever effort was turned around the post by Joel, only for Halsey to give a goal kick.

From the kick, Wigan went and won the corner where the match was settled. The delivery was clearly met by the hand of Figueroa and with Newcastle players appealing to no avail, the ball finally landed at the feet of Kone, who scrambled home to win the points for Wigan.

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  1. Craig_toon

    This was a shocking game and evidence in something a serious as a tackle like todays needs reviewed by video before play starts again.It would take 30 secs to make the right decision ….not only have we lost the game to three awful Referee decisions we have also lost what could be a very important player in Europe and maybe the chances of a great young talent to flourish ..

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