Four-goal Wigan boost survival hopes
Victor Moses' early double sent Wigan on their way to yet another big-time conquest as Roberto Martinez's men gave their survival hopes a mighty boost by brushing aside Champions League hopefuls Newcastle 4-0.
Moses' quick-fire brace in the 13th and 15th minutes left Alan Pardew's Magpies reeling and further first-half strikes from Shaun Maloney and Franco Di Santo ensured the buoyant Latics had effectively sealed the points before the break.
Papiss Cisse twice hit the woodwork as the visitors rallied in the second half, but their hopes of holding down at least a top-four place in the Barclays Premier League had long since suffered a serious blow.
Having already beaten Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal on their extraordinary late-season run, Wigan were expected to start with confidence but not even the most optimistic of Latics could have foreseen their whirlwind opening.
The recalled Maloney spread panic with a free-kick in the second minute and Moses had already brought a save out of Tim Krul before the striker opened the scoring by rising above a static Danny Simpson to nod home an Emmerson Boyce cross.
Less than two minutes later the Latics extended their lead when Fabricio Coloccini made a mess of an attempted clearance from a Jean Beausejour cross, and Moses pounced again to drill a low shot past Krul.
In response, Hatem Ben Arfa drilled a dangerous-looking free-kick just over the Wigan bar and Cisse poked a poor effort at Ali Al Habsi from the edge of the box. But Wigan extended their lead in the 36th minute when Di Santo fed Maloney on the left and he cut into the box to slide a low shot across Krul and into the bottom corner.
Demba Ba bobbled Newcastle's best chance wide four minutes from the break then in first-half injury-time Wigan made it 4-0 when Di Santo directed a magnificent lob over Krul and into the top corner from 25 yards.
Wigan continued to press early in the second half, and when Figueroa sent in a low cross from the left in the 52nd minute only Coloccini's excellent interception denied Moses the chance to complete a hat-trick. A brilliant fingertip save from Krul also denied the striker in a mighty penalty box melee on the hour.
Belatedly the visitors began to press, with Al Habsi producing a brilliant save to deny Cisse from 10 yards in the 63rd minute, and moments the later the same player firing a shot from the left side of the box which hit the bar.