WIGAN, United Kingdom (AFP) –
Wigan boosted their chances of escaping relegation from the Premier League yet again when they beat Newcastle 2-1 in controversial fashion on Sunday.
Goals by Jean Beausejour and a last minute strike from Arouna Kone — his ninth of the season — got them the three points but their victory was overshadowed by a dreadful foul on Massadio Haidara by Callum McManaman.
McManaman grabbed all the right headlines last weekend with a goal in the FA Cup quarter-final defeat of Everton but he is guaranteed the wrong ones on Monday after he went in studs up and connected with Haidara’s knee.
The 20-year-old Frenchman had to be stretchered off, just 14 minutes after he had replaced the injured Mathieu Debuchy, and according to the club was already on his way back to Newcastle with thigh and knee injuries.
Later Sunday, Newcastle confirmed their player had suffered a knee and thigh injury.
McManaman went unpunished as referee Mark Halsey’s line of vision was blocked by a Newcastle player but it did not go unnoticed by John Carver, the Newcastle assistant manager.
He was so incensed by the challenge that as the teams trooped off at half-time he vented his feelings at McManaman and had to be hauled away and as a result both he and Wigan first team coach Graham Barrow were sent to the stands by Halsey.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, who has an already lengthy injury list with Yohan Cabaye ruled out before the game and Hatem Ben Arfa out for the rest of the season, said he hadn’t seen the half-time fracas.
“I was in the changing room. What I do know is what went on the pitch and in all honesty it’s difficult to take and difficult to talk about,” he said.
“I’m disappointed for our team and Wigan to see how the match was conducted, the tackle was awful, we lost to a handball (Maynor Figueroa in the lead-up to the second goal) and a boy going to hospital.
“Halsey apologised to say he missed the foul.”
His Wigan counterpart Roberto Martinez said he hadn’t seen a replay of the incident but he defended his player.
“I believe it is a bad challenge but it’s not malicious. I can guarantee that Callum McManaman is not a dirty player, he is young and full of enthusiasm.
“I think he wants to contact the player because when you get an injury of that manner you don’t want to leave any bad feeling. If he hasn’t apologised yet he will do because values like that are important in football.”
Victory for Wigan — only their second in nine league games — takes them to within three points of fourth from bottom Aston Villa and with a game in hand.
Newcastle — with just one win in 15 away matches this season — too are still in trouble as they are just six points ahead of Wigan.
Former Inter Milan defender Davide Santon had scored for Newcastle.