Wigan Athletic 1 Newcastle United 0: Connolly's late show buries Newcastle

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The Independent Online

After 36 years of fruitless searching for silverware, Newcastle United's supporters have become used to feeling angry and depressed about letdowns. Few, though, have caused as much anger as this one.

Outplayed by a Wigan Athletic side made up largely of reserve players, Newcastle United only had their goalkeeper Shay Given to thank for the fact that it took until three minutes from time for their hopes of Carling Cup success to die for yet another year when David Connolly converted from the spot.

It was highly debatable whether the contact between Robbie Elliott and Jason Roberts was enough for a foul to be given - but it was nothing more than Paul Jewell's side deserved against, as he put it, a "supposedly top team".

Newcastle looked devoid of ideas and, more alarmingly for their supporters and manager, passion. For a man like Graeme Souness, that is heinous crime and the Scot, who heard the first calls for his sacking as he traipsed down the tunnel, was damning in his verdict.

"We were poor and the game should have been over and done with in the first 45 minutes," said Souness, whose side have now lost three successive games. "I understand the reaction of the supporters... If I'd been a supporter, travelling all this way, paying whatever they have had to pay, and I saw my team play like that, I'd be angry. It's most definitely the most angry I've been since I became Newcastle United manager."

Wigan could have been at least three up by half-time had it not been for Given's heroics, the Republic of Ireland international making two fine stops from Lee McCulloch and a double save to keep out Connolly.

Jewell said: "It was a 1-0 hammering. We played exceptionally well, we changed our shape, played some good football and we dominated... We should have won far more comfortably."

Wigan Athletic (4-4-2) Pollitt; Taylor, McMillan (Baines 46), Jackson, Thome (Henchoz 30); Teale, Skoko, Johansson (Roberts 69) , Mahon; McCulloch, Connolly. Substitutes not used: Francis, Bullard.

Newcastle United (4-4-2) Given; Ramage, Elliott, Boumsong, N'Zogbia; Solano, Emre (Faye, 71), Parker, Bowyer (Brittain 46); Shearer, Luqu (Chopra 57). Substitutes not used: Harper (gk), Clark.

Referee: S Bennett (Surrey).

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