Wigan Athletic 0 Newcastle United 1
ALAN Pardew will hopefully go on to achieve rather more impressive things as Newcastle United manager, although the new boss has at least managed to bring the Magpies their first win at the DW Stadium.
A solitary goal from Shola Ameobi was enough to secure United a win at Wigan at their sixth attempt.
A ground which has been a graveyard for previous Newcastle managers has given Pardew a win which should do wonders for his team’s chance of surviving in the top flight.
Graeme Souness, Sam Allardyce and Joe Kinnear have all felt the full brunt of supporter anger after defeats in this particular part of Lancashire and, it could be argued, never managed to salvage their reputations after it.
Pardew, though, has done the opposite. After a difficult start to his tenure, he has secured a vital victory on the road which puts six points between his side and the relegation zone.
Breathing space which means Newcastle can rest a little easier at the start of the New Year.
Then again, if they need to be remind-ed about the potential perils ahead of them, it is worth pointing out the last time the Magpies tumbled out of the Premier League they took 22 points from their first 19 games, the same tally they had collected before this trip to Wigan.
United’s season, on that occasion, started well enough, unravelled in the winter and fell to pieces in the spring.
It is a painful memory which should be too fresh for complacency to rear its ugly head between now and May, but it is worth bearing in mind as United look at squad strengthening this month.
Newcastle have already made their first approach to Tottenham for Robbie Keane and Pardew also tossed David Beckham’s name into the mix, which emphasises the fact he is searching for a striker, a winger and a left-back this month.
United should have been in front inside two minutes.