The Magpies took 81 minutes to hit the front but it was enough to maintain their unbeaten run this term, which has stretched to nine games, and has them placed firmly in fourth on 19 points.
Yohan Cabaye proved the difference with his debut Premier League goal nine minutes from time after some great play from fellow Frenchman Sylvain Marveaux. Ryan Taylor's ball from the left found Marveaux who controlled beautifully with his chest in the area before teeing up for Cabaye who curled it past Ali Al Habsi from the edge of the box in spectacular fashion to give Alan Pardew a fifth win in nine outings this term.
The end result was expected for the home side although Roberto Martinez' men did make life difficult for the Toon by having chances of their own and remaining rock-solid in defence for most of the 90 minutes.
Newcastle keeper Tim Krul was forced into a top-class save early in the piece from a Hugo Rodallega attempt but it was Al Habsi who did more of the work of the two glovemen with a well-timed swat from Leon Best's header, a timely catch on the line from a Demba Ba nodded effort and a quality block when Hatem Ben Arfa cut into the area in the second half and flashed a left-footed shot goalward.
The loss, their sixth in a row, has the Latics reeling in 19th on the table and things will need to change swiftly if they want to remain in the top flight next term whilst on Tyneside, things are looking rosy.
TRIBAL ASKS: Can Newcastle cut it at the top? Is a battling win like this a good sign or should they be beating these sides more comfortably if they want to be in the top four?