Magpies blown away by Wigan
Newcastle coach Alan Pardew (File)
Wigan - Newcastle's Champions League aspirations suffered a hammer blow as Wigan eased their relegation fears with a stunning first-half performance in a 4-0 win at the DW Stadium on Saturday.
Two goals from Victor Moses plus one apiece from Shaun Maloney and Franco Di Santo saw Wigan claim another high-profile scalp to add to recent victories over Manchester United and Arsenal.
Alan Pardew's Newcastle side had not conceded a goal in 411 minutes until Moses opened the floodgates at the start of a 32-minute period which saw them concede four times.
Moses started the rout after 13 minutes following a right-wing cross from Emmerson Boyce which saw him outjump defender Mike Williamson easily, despite giving up several inches in height to the Newcastle man, and guide the ball past Tim Krul with an expertly-judged back-header.
Two minutes later, Moses and Wigan doubled the lead when Jean Beausejour played in a dangerous ball from the left wing, which Fabricio Coloccini only half cleared, straight into the path of Moses.
The Wigan forward, who is attracting the interest of a number of the division's wealthier clubs after recently declining a contract extension, did the rest, side-footing the ball superbly past the dive of Krul.
After 35 minutes, Newcastle's fading hopes of somehow fighting back and challenging for the third spot in the table were extinguished.
Beausejour's pass was neatly helped on by Di Santo with Maloney racing inside full-back Danny Simpson to produce another inch-perfect finish that allowed the Newcastle keeper no chance.
Pardew's team managed to hold out until first-half injury-time before letting in another. This time it was a wonderful solo goal from Di Santo who took a short pass from Maloney and curled a dipping shot over Krul's head into the top left-hand corner.
It was a stunning half of football but, after the recent wins over Manchester United and Arsenal, it merely continued Wigan's unexpected recovery, which has now seen them collect 15 points from the last available 21.
In response, the visitors failed to test Ali Al-Habsi in the lopsided first half - Yohan Cabaye's promising cross for Demba Ba was too hard for the forward and, late in the half, Ba sent a shot bouncing wide from the edge of the box.
The one-way flow continued after the break with Moses flashing a shot just wide before forcing Krul into his first real save of the game, via a 58th minute close-range shot which the over-worked goalkeeper did well to keep out, one-handed.
Newcastle responded in kind, with Al-Habsi making his first save of the game, from Papiss Cisse's powerful shot which the keeper did well to parry, and the same Newcastle forward clipping the crossbar after 64 minutes from a similar position 15 yards out.
The pressure was maintained as Gary Caldwell was required to head behind, on his own line, from a dangerous Cisse cross and Hatem Ben Arfa skilfully carved out space for himself just inside a crowded penalty area only to see his low shot pass wide of the mark.
Cisse again came close to putting Newcastle on the scoresheet, after 71 minutes, when he connected with a Ben Arfa cross only for his effort to again strike the woodwork, a sure indication that this was not to be their day.
Indeed, it required a goalline clearance from Coloccini in the closing minutes to deny substitute Connor Sammon after he powered through Williamson's weak challenge.