Demba Ba served up a timely reminder of his potency to end Newcastle's wait for a Premier League victory against 10-man Wigan.
The 27-year-old's first-half double ended a run of four successive 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.
Ba, who worryingly for his manager limped off late in the game, converted a 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 club cementing just a second league victory in 10 attempts.
There were 12 minutes on the clock when Vurnon Anita picked out Ba and he slid the ball into the run of strike partner Papiss Cisse.
Figueroa came across to challenge the Senegal international, who ended up in a heap on the ground with the referee Mike Jones interpreting his intervention as a penalty offence.
Having made that decision, he then had little option but to dismiss the defender and with the Wigan bench still furiously arguing their case - and wing-back Jean Beausejour having been booked for his protests - Ba thumped the spot-kick low to keeper Ali Al Habsi's right to open the scoring.
Dismissal changes the game
Until that point, the visitors had more than made a fist of a game in which they knew they would encounter a side short on confidence, with Tim Krul having to dive full length to turn away Franco Di Santo's well-struck fourth-minute effort.
Left-back Santon headed forward in determined fashion with 21 minutes gone before cutting inside and unleashing a right-foot piledriver which Al Habsi simply could not handle, and Ba was in the right place at the right time to tap home the rebound.
Wigan regained a measure of composure as the half-time whistle approached, but they headed for the dressing room knowing the odds were heavily stacked against them.
Caldwell was replaced by Adrian Lopez at the break, while Tiote, who had picked up a knock before the interval, was replaced by Bigirimana.
Pardew was forced to make a second change within four minutes of the restart when Santon limped off and was replaced by Shane Ferguson.
To their credit, Wigan took the game to their hosts in the early stages of the half, but it was Al Habsi who had to get down well to keep out Marveaux's 52nd-minute strike after he had turned smartly on to Anita's pass and carved his way into the box.
The Frenchman, enjoying perhaps his best night yet in a black and white shirt, turned provider four minutes later to set up Bigirimana, whose side-footed effort was saved by Al Habsi, and Cisse sent a dipping 59th-minute effort over the bar.
However, the former Coventry City midfielder was not to be denied and when Marveaux found him wide on the right with 19 minutes remaining, he cut inside to curl a fine left-footed shot past the keeper and inside the far post.