Magpies dumped out of Cup
By Stephen Bateman. Last Updated: November 30, 2005 9:40pm
Wigan advanced to the quarter finals of the Carling Cup on Wednesday night with a thoroughly deserved victory over Newcastle.
In a contest littered with missed chances, David Connolly finally secured the victory with his 88th minute penalty after Wigan had wasted a litany of gilt-edged opportunities.
Paul Jewell made nine changes to the side which played Tottenham on Saturday, with Mike Pollitt and Lee McCulloch the sole survivors. Graeme Souness, meanwhile, reaffirmed his assertions that Newcastle would be gunning for victory in the competition by naming his strongest available team.
Yet, to the casual observer, it must have seemed that it was Wigan who were more intent on winning the tie as they totally dominated the opening 45 minutes.
Within seconds of the kick-off, Lee McCulloch side-footed his shot just wide after getting on the end of a dangerous cross from Connolly. Ryan Taylor then tested Shay Given with a swerving free-kick that the Irish keeper was only able to gather at the second time of asking.
Wigan's tactic of exploiting their pace down the flanks and getting as many bodies as they possibly could in front of Given consistently caused United a world of problems.
Given will consider himself fortunate to have escaped unpunished when he dropped a Taylor cross after 13 minutes, although he went a long way towards making amends for the error by tipping over a 20-yarder from McCulloch minutes later.
Taylor proved a persistent thorn in the side of Newcastle and Andreas Johansson should have opened the scoring after getting on the end of another pinpoint cross only to fluff his shot. After 34 minutes, McCulloch went close yet again, his crafted shot from the edge of the area grazing the crossbar.
When Nolberto Solano cleared a Matt Jackson header off the line, it seemed inevitable that Wigan would go in as leaders at half-time yet, inexplicably, Newcastle's goal continued to lead a charmed life as the sides ended the first half all-square.
It would have been somewhat of a travesty if Newcastle had taken the lead just after the break when Scott Parker unleashed a volley from the edge of the box but it was not to be as the ball stripped a coat of paint from the outside of the right-hand upright.
Whether Souness spent the interval kicking buckets and throwing tea-cups or gently encouraging his desperately ineffective stars, The Magpies were an entirley different proposition in the second period.
After 59 minutes the United boss finally conceded that his experiment of playing a half-fit Albert Luque out of position in the centre of attack was not working out, electing to replace him with the promising Michael Chopra.
Shortly afterwards, Emre had a great opportunity to open the scoring and was unlucky to hit the left-hand post when he unleashed a furious drive from 25 yards out. Connolly should have done better when he hit the side-netting on 65 minutes and Given did well to deny Jason Roberts shortly afterwards.
As the pace of the game increased, the chances continued to flow and just as it began to seem that extra-time and penalties would be needed, the winner came.
Roberts, on as a substitute, looked to turn inside the United box and, as he did so, Robbie Elliott applied the lightest of touches before the former West Brom man went tumbling to the ground. Referee Stephen Bennett had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, however, with Connolly stepping up to fire his spot-kick to the left of a despairing Given.
|Wigan Athletic||Team Statistics||Newcastle United|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|8||Shots on Target||1|
|8||Shots off Target||4|