Wigan’s win over Newcastle marred by Callum McManaman horror tackle

For Wigan, it was an eventful end. For Callum McManaman, an action-packed beginning. The winger’s maiden Premier League start lasted only 57 minutes but it incorporated the good, the bad and the ugly. The Merseysider brought creativity and the controversy, providing an instant impact in an invaluable win which was marred by his inexcusable challenge on Massadio Haïdara.

The prognosis is bleak for the Newcastle left-back, whose season seems to have reached a premature end. So did McManaman’s match; having escaped sanction for his lunge at the luckless Haïdara, he was removed by Roberto Martínez after becoming the unwitting cause of a half-time fracas and having become public enemy No1 on Tyneside.

And, after his exit, Wigan lost the lead he had helped give them, Davide Santon cancelling out Jean Beausejour’s goal before Arouna Koné scored a 90th-minute winner that, in keeping with the afternoon, was contentious, Maynor Figueroa handling seconds earlier.

Wigan’s elegant demolition of Everton persuaded Martínez to retain the same side, meaning captain Gary Caldwell and goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, previously automatic choices, were only on the bench. His replacement, the Premier League debutant Joel Robles, was called upon to stop Steven Taylor’s header when the unmarked defender met Sylvain Marveaux’s corner.

Martínez’s faith in the players who had excelled at Goodison Park entailed a belated full league debut for McManaman, almost four years after his bow. Within a few minutes, the Merseysider damaged Newcastle twice.

Before the controversy came the creativity. McManaman’s dart to the byline was followed by a chipped cross that narrowly evaded Koné. The ball bounced off Santon’s heel for Beausejour to drill in his first Wigan goal.

The generous interpretation of his subsequent action would be that McManaman was pumped up as he flew into a studs-up, knee-high challenge on Haïdara that ended the Newcastle left-back’s participation and should have curtailed his own contribution. Rather than showing the winger the red card it merited, however, referee Mark Halsey merely awarded a free-kick.

Newcastle’s initial concern was with the injured Haïdara who, having come on for the hurt Mathieu Debuchy, was taken off on a stretcher but their anger became apparent at half-time. Alan Pardew’s assistant manager John Carver made a furious attempt to confront McManaman and had to be restrained by a combination of James Perch and the stewards. The contretemps resulted in a dismissal apiece with Carver and Graham Barrow, Wigan’s academy coach and McManaman’s mentor, sent to the stands.

It rather overshadowed events on the field where Wigan came close to a second goal. Shaun Maloney, floating intelligently between the lines, curled a shot that Rob Elliot tipped away. James McCarthy, surging clear from midfield as a gap opened up in the heart of the Newcastle defence, was denied only when Jonás Gutiérrez sprinted back and mustered a perfectly-timed tackle. At least, Newcastle could reflect, McManaman did not score, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa making an excellent block to deny the newcomer.

Martínez had the sense to withdraw McManaman from the firing line, introducing the more defensive and, as far as Newcastle were concerned, less offensive, James McArthur. Thereafter, Newcastle rallied. Papiss Cissé’s radar had misfired when presented with chances. Thankfully for Newcastle, he was rather more accurate when the equally error-prone Paul Scharner gifted the visitors the ball. Cissé hooked it forward into the path of Santon and the Italian angled his shot past Robles to open his Newcastle account.

United then came closer to the winner, Robles justifying his selection with a terrific save to deny Cissé. Instead, Wigan emerged with the points, Koné bundling the ball in after it had bounced off Franco Di Santo’s head and into his path.

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