It’s been another difficult week for Wigan Athletic after the Spanish takeover of the club was rejected by the EFL but they showed great character and commitment to record their first win in 14 games at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland dominated possession but Leam Richardson’s well-drilled team were resilient and limited the hosts to very few chances.
The visitors secured the memorable victory with their only shot on target during the 95 minutes when 19-year-old Kyle Joseph scored his first goal for the club.
Latics are now joint bottom of the League One table with Shrewsbury and are five points from safety. Sunderland drop to ninth place.
Lee Evans returned to the starting eleven after injury but Matty Palmer had picked up an injury at Lincoln and was replaced by Thelo Aasgaard.
Sunderland’s new manager Lee Johnson named former Latics’ favourites Will Grigg and Max Power in their starting line up.
The Black Cats started brightly and looked threatening in the open minutes as Latics stood off their opponents.
But against the run of play a quick counter attack on 16 minutes gave Latics an unlikely lead through the Scottish youth international Joseph. The big striker battled for the ball on the edge of the area before striking a powerful left footed shot with flew past Sunderland keeper Lee Burge.
Aidan McGeady went close for the hosts on 20 minutes when he fired into the side-netting from a good position. Soon afterwards Josh Scowen tried his luck from distance and forced a good save from Jamie Jones diving down low to his left.
The Black Cats were enjoying plenty of possession and Chris Maguire blazed over from inside the box on 38 minutes as Latics lived a little dangerously,
The game continued in similar vein in the second half with the hosts enjoying the lion’s share of possession and Latics defending solidly.
Kal Naismith had battled well alongside Joseph upfront but had to be withdrawn with an injury and replaced by Olly Crankshaw on 62 minutes. The substitute nearly got on the end of forward pass by Evans soon afterwards but keeper Burge was able to clear.
McGeady then forced an excellent save from Jones who spectacularly tipped the Republic of Ireland international’s effort over the crossbar.
McLaughlin shot wide from the edge of the box as the hosts camped themselves in Latics’ half of the pitch.
Chris Merrie replaced Perry on 84 minutes as Latics continued to battle for any loose ball and to keep Sunderland at bay.
Scottish youth international Luke Robinson made his League One debut replacing Gardner on 94 minutes and Latics held out for a deserved three points.
Latics’ defence had limited their opponents to very few chances but when they did penetrate Jones was in fine form between the sticks.
This result was a ray of sunshine for a club that is still in administration and going through some dark times. Richardson’s Academy players and a few experienced professionals deserve great credit for producing such an excellent performance and in such difficult circumstances.