Ameobi effort enough for Newcastle
Newcastle moved back into the top half of the Barclays Premier League thanks to Shola Ameobi's close-range finish in a 1-0 victory at Wigan.
Ameobi, in the Magpies side as a replacement for injured top-scorer Andy Carroll, pounced in the 19th minute when Ali Al Habsi blocked Joey Barton's shot and Peter Lovenkrands' follow-up hit the post.
Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor also both struck the woodwork for the visitors, while Gary Caldwell saw his header come back off the bar for the Latics.
It was a welcome start to 2011 for Alan Pardew as his side bounced back from two straight defeats and moved up to 10th place.
For Wigan, who are just a point and a place above the relegation, the situation is more concerning.
The Latics played some encouraging stuff in the opening exchanges but fell behind after a defensive error by Steven Gohouri.
Having dispossessed the Ivorian, Barton struck an effort which Al Habsi managed to parry, but Lovenkrands hit the loose ball against a post and Ameobi was on hand to tuck away the rebound.
At the other end, Tom Cleverley's deflected shot from the edge of the box earned Wigan a corner which was met by Caldwell. The Latics skipper saw his header bounce back off the bar and the ball came to Hugo Rodallega, who lifted his attempt over.
Newcastle were next to hit the woodwork soon after as Coloccini looped a header onto the top of the goalframe. And it was the visiting Magpies who again came closest to scoring in the second half as yet another header hit the crossbar.
This time it was Taylor denied in the 67th minute after he got on the end of Barton's free-kick.