NEWCASTLE - Newcastle climbed away from the EPL relegation zone as Senegal striker Demba Ba scored twice to inspire a 3-0 win over 10-man Wigan at St James' Park yesterday.
Alan Pardew's side ended a dismal run of four successive Premier League defeats thanks to Ba's first-half double and referee Mike Jones' controversial decision to send off Wigan defender Maynor Figueroa.
Figueroa was dismissed for a shoulder charge on Ba that led to the penalty which the former West Ham star converted to open the scoring early in the first half.
Ba added his second goal soon after and teenage midfielder Gael Bigirimana completed the rout as Newcastle cruised to their first win in eight games in all competitions and moved five points clear of the relegation zone.
The only downbeat note for Newcastle was a hamstring injury to Ba that forced the forward off in the closing minutes.
Wigan have now lost four of their last five matches and they lie only two points above the bottom three.
Pardew had overseen just one win in nine league matches since signing his new eight-year contract with the club in September, so this was a welcome success for the Magpies chief.
It needed a fine save from Tim Krul in the opening minutes to avoid a nightmare start as the Newcastle goalkeeper palmed away a stinging long-range drive from Franco Di Santo.
But before Wigan could capitalise on a bright opening, Pardew's side took the lead in the 13th minute in the game's defining moment.
Ba played a pass through for strike-partner Papiss Cisse and the Senegal international was bundled over by Figueroa as he burst into the penalty area.