Coloccini late show denies Latics

The Argentinian headed home in the fourth minute of stoppage time
to snatch a precious point after Magpies old boy N’Zogbia had
silenced the St James’ Park boo boys. The 24-year-old Frenchman put
the visitors in front with a 22nd-minute header and then added a
second with a superb left-foot rocket to answer the cat-calls from
fans still bristling at the manner of his departure from the club.
N’Zogbia, who was once mistakenly referred to as “Charles
Insomnia”, tormented right-back James Perch throughout, and with a
little more composure, could have killed the game off long before
the final whistle. But substitute Shola Ameobi’s 72nd-minute header
gave the Magpies hope as a crowd of 44,415 finally had something to
shout about, and Coloccini completed the job in the nick of time.
The game started with boos for owner Mike Ashley over his decision
to sell the naming rights to the stadium, and N’Zogbia as a result
of his extended campaign of agitation for a move away from the
club, which finally paid off in February last year. But the boos on
the half-time whistle were all for the club the Frenchman had left
behind as the Magpies capitulated all too easily in the face of a
not particularly special performance by the visitors. Newcastle
were simply awful for all but a few minutes of the opening period.
They lacked ideas in midfield, where Wigan boss Roberto Martinez
had ordered his players to close down space, and toothless in
attack on the rare occasions when striker Andy Carroll and Peter
Lovenkrands, preferred to Ameobi and Kevin Nolan, saw anything of
the ball. But more alarmingly, they were horribly porous at the
back as right-back Perch’s education in top-flight football took an
ugly turn up an ever steeper hill. His main job was to try to keep
N’Zogbia quiet with a helping hand from Danny Guthrie, making his
first appearance of the season after recovering from a knee injury.
But the former Magpie gave him a torrid time throughout and capped
his afternoon with a quick-fire double which put the Latics in the
driving seat with barely a quarter of the game gone. There was an
element of good fortune about N’Zogbia’s first goal when Franco di
Santo’s cross looped up off Jose Enrique and dropped invitingly for
the winger to head across goalkeeper Tim Krul and into the bottom
corner. However, his second less a minute later oozed class as he
brought down Di Santo’s cross on his chest before smashing a shot
past Krul from a tight angle. Newcastle were laboured in their
attempts to get back into the game, although they came close twice
within seconds as clock ticked past the 40-minute mark. First
Maynor Figueroa had to head over his own crossbar after Carroll had
turned Guthrie’s free-kick across goal towards Lovenkrands, and
then Emmerson Boyce cleared the striker’s header off the line from
the resulting corner. It could have been even worse for the Magpies
had N’Zogbia opted to cross early to the unmarked Di Santo in
injury time, and the home manager headed for the dressing room with
chants of “Hughton, sort it out” ringing in his ears with his side
starring down the barrel of a third successive home defeat. What
Hughton needed was a swift response, but there was little sign of
it in the opening minutes of the second half as his side continued
to squander possession and make little of it when they had it. The
Magpies pinned the visitors back inside their own half, but were
unable to find anything like the quality of final ball they needed
to break Wigan down, although Carroll headed wide from Enrique’s
looping 56th-minute ball in. Lovenkrands found himself in a
promising position on the hour as Perch prepared to cross, but
although the Dane controlled well, Newcastle old boy Steve Caldwell
intervened before he could shoot. Guthrie drilled a 65th-minute
free-kick harmlessly over the bar with little sign of the fightback
the Magpies so desperately required. However, Ameobi, a 60th-minute
replacement for Lovenkrands, gave his side hope with 18 minutes
gone when he powered home a header from Jonas Gutierrez’s cross to
spark a belated onslaught. Carroll headed just wide seconds later,
but substitute Hugo Rodallega perhaps should have made sure five
minutes from time after being played in by N’Zogbia. His side were
made to pay at the death when Carroll flicked on Gutierrez’s cross
and Coloccini headed home from close range to cap a spirited
comeback.