Last week Wigan Athletic were thwarted by some terrible luck, poor refereeing and a 99th minute equaliser, this week the wheel of fortune turned in Wigan’s favour as they overcame Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Wigan’s 2-1 victory heaped further pressure on the beleaguered Sunderland manager Steve Bruce. Cries of ‘Bruce Out’ echoed around the Stadium at full-time as Wigan pulled off an unlikely win.
Wigan had their usual poor start as Ali Al-Habsi first failed to hold a shot from Nicholas Bendtner and then from Kieran Richardson before Sebastian Larsson slotted home after eight minutes. Sunderland were creating numerous chances but were profligate in front of goal. Al Habsi made some fine saves but one miss in particular by Phil Bardsley typified the Black Cats inability to take the easiest of chances.
Latics did manage to get their passing game going on a few occasions, with Mo Diame and David Jones performing well in midfield, but overall the direction of travel was towards Al-Habsi’s goal.
However, the tide turned in Wigan’s favour in the 43rd minute when the quick footed Victor Moses went over in the penalty box under pressure from Larsson. In a bizarre twist of fate, it looked as though Moses had slipped on one of the many pieces of litter that had been blowing around the windswept stadium. Jordi Gomez calmly despatched the penalty despite Kieran Westwood’s attempts to distract him.
Wigan went into the break level, they had ridden their luck and had Al-Habsi to thank for keeping them in the game.
The second half started in familiar fashion with Sunderland pressing and creating chances. But Al-Habsi’s goal was not breached and Wigan held firm. Sunderland introduced substitutes David Vaughan and Craig Gardner for Bardsley and Cattermole and Wigan brought on James McArthur and Franco Di Santo for Ronnie Stam and Conor Sammon and it was the Wigan substitutes who were to have most impact on the final result.
Just as the game seemed destined for a draw Wes Brown was caught in possession by the terrier-like McArthur and he combined well with Di Santo before Di Santo side footed home the winner. The scenes on the Wigan bench were something to behold as Graeme Jones celebrated with the ecstatic Robert Martinez.
For once luck had turned in Wigan’s favour as they moved off the bottom of the table, two points above Blackburn and now level on points with Bolton. In his post match interviews Martinez was confident that this win could be a springboard for the rest of the season. Lets hope he’s right.