The 27-year-old’s first-half double ended a run of foursuccessive league defeats for the injury-hit Magpies on a day when it emerged that the club’s ongoing efforts to renegotiate his contract to dispense with a troublesome release-clause are yet to pay dividends.
But Alan Pardew’s men were aided in no small part by the controversial 12th-minutedismissal of Honduras international Maynor Figueroa byreferee Mike Jones, who later opted not to send off Gary Caldwell for what looked like a second bookable offence.
Ba converted the resulting penalty and then took his tally for the season to 10 with a close-range finish after Davide Santon’s shot had been parried, with substitute Gael Bigirimana’s superb first goal for the clubcementing just a second league victory in 10 attempts.
Manager Alan Pardew was a relieved man at the finish. “It was nice to get a break – and I think it was a break, I’m not a great lover of that rule with the penalty and the sending off.
“But at the time I thought it was a penalty, the defender lifts his arm at the end of the challenge. The referee had a tough decision to make, but I think it was a penalty and obviously it put us in a great position.”
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez understandably had a different opinion.
“The ball was between the two players, Maynor Figueroa is entitled to challenge for that ball and I thought it was shoulder-to-shoulder. You expect the defender to be strong and the striker to go down easily. I think a penalty and a red card is too much punishment, I thought it was harsh.”
NEWCASTLE: Krul, Coloccini, Santon (Ferguson 49), Simpson, Williamson, Anita, Gutierrez (Ameobi 75), Marveaux, Tiote (Bigirimana 46),Cisse,Ba.
WIGAN: Al Habsi, Caldwell (Lopez 46), Boyce, Stam, Figueroa, McCarthy, Jones, Gomez (McArthur 23) Beausejour, Kone, Di Santo (McManaman 83).
Referee: M Jones.