The Senegal international was on target twice in the opening 45 minutes, with Gael Bigirimana's superb curled effort capping off on a confident return to form for Alan Pardew's men.

Keen to quickly calm any jittering nerves after their woeful form of late, Newcastle could not have hoped for a better start.

Senegalese striking duo Ba and Papiss Cisse linked up to play the latter through in the box, only for Maynor Figueroa to barge into the Newcastle no.9 as he looked to pull the trigger.

The Wigan man paid the price with a red card, and Ba duly dispatched from the penalty spot to put his side ahead.

Eight minutes later, the former West Ham man was on hand again to double the lead. Ali Al-Habsi did well to thwart Davide Santon's vicious drive from distance, but the shot-stopper had no chance against Ba from the rebound, who tapped home his 10th of the season.

The visitors were lucky to end the half with 10 men after Caldwell hauled down Ba on the edge of the box.

Already on a yellow card for a mistimed challenged on the striker earlier in the game, the Scotsman was given the benefit of the doubt by referee Mike Jones.

Wigan entered the second period with renewed vigour. Ronnie Stam turned Santon with ease before drilling a low ball across the face of goal, which Tim Krul did well to keep from the queue of Wigan attackers at the back post.

That would be the Italian's last act of the match, as he was forced from the field with a groin injury to be replaced by Shane Ferguson.

Dutch right-back Stam continued to provide Wigan's attacking threat, while Sylvain Marveaux, who endured a quiet first half, burst into life for the hosts with a series of silky runs to open the away side's back line.

However, it was Bigirimana, introduced at half-time for Chiekh Tiote, who would make the first real impact of the half.

The 19-year-old received the ball on the edge of the area, before curling a left-footed effort past Al-Habsi to score his first goal in the Premier League.

The cold evening did not come without its sting for Pardew, however, with Ba a late casualty to injury, meaning he could be a doubt for the visit to Fulham next Monday - another key clash if Newcastle are to put the rot to bed once and for all.