Last-gasp Coloccini ruins N'Zogbia's quest for revenge

Newcastle United 2 Wigan Athletic 2
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The Independent Online

Despite an injury-time intervention by the Newcastle captain Fabricio Coloccini, who headed a dramatic equaliser,a player once infamously labelled "Charles Insomnia" by former United manager Joe Kinnear has no doubt given the current incumbent of the St James' Park hot seat, Chris Hughton, plenty to mull over during what are sure to be sleepless nights this week.

Coloccini's rescue act merely papers over the cracks of a team which had long seemed destined for a third successive home defeat following a first-half double from the former Newcastle winger Charles N'Zogbia.

That Wigan did not join Blackpool and Stoke in taking maximum points on Tyneside is something of an injustice.

"The game can be cruel and this was a clear example of that," said the Latics manager Roberto Martinez whose side extended their unbeaten away record to three matches in the League. "We lack a little bit of know-how and experience we need to see a game through. But the performance as a whole we can takea lot from."

Hughton had a different view. "We showed great character and spirit and the equaliser was well deserved," he said. "We knew were on the back of two home defeats and did not want that to continue."

A dreary opening was memorable only for the vocal offerings of the home crowd; a string of anti-Mike Ashley chants no doubt prompted by the appearance of several Sports Direct signs around the stadium in recent days. N'Zogbia wasn't spared the scorn of the Newcastle supporters either and his every touch was greeted with whistling.

But the barracking of their former favourite was amplified on 22 minutes when N'Zogbia scored the game's opener. Franco di Santo's deflected cross looped toward United's far post where James Perch and Mike Williamson, the Newcastle defenders, should have used their sizeable height advantage to eradicate the danger. Instead, the hapless pair watched as N'Zogbia, at 5ft 5in, climbed to plant a header beyond Tim Krul.

Within 60 seconds the Frenchman had further reason for merriment. Joey Barton dithered in possession midway inside his own half and was robbed by the energetic James McCarthy. Di Santo was the recipient of a McCarthy pass and again the Argentinian located N'Zogbia at the far post. The scorer still had work to do but he lashed between Krul and his near post.

The visitors squandered a chance to put the game out of sight before the break when N'Zogbia failed to find Di Santo, free inside the area.

Jonas Gutierrez, the Argentina winger, had been wasteful throughout and was lucky to still be involved by the time the chance came to serve up a 72nd-minute centre for Shola Ameobi to head home.

Carroll somehow contrived to stab wide from Barton's cross in the 89th minute but atoned by diverting Barton's corner on to Coloccini who nodded through a sea of bodies to grab a point.

Bookings: Newcastle: Tiote, Carroll. Wigan: Figueroa.

Attendance: 44,415

Referee: Mark Halsey

Man of the match: N'Zogbia

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