- Charlie Wyke opened the scoring against his former club but Wigan Athletic couldn’t hold on to their lead and conceded two goals in the second half against Sunderland.
- Latics went ahead when Wyke superbly curled home James McClean’s deflected cross on 44 minutes.
- The hosts drew level on 54 minutes when Elliott Embleton converted from close range from Dennis Cirkin’s cut back and they went in front on 72 minutes when Cirkin headed home from Alex Pritchard’s free-kick.
- Despite some late Latics pressure the Black Cats held on for the three points.
- Latics drop to 13th in the Championship table and Sunderland move up to ninth.
Leam Richardson named an unchanged starting XI for the trip to the Stadium of Light.
The hosts had an early opportunity when Patrick Roberts took on the Latics defence and took aim from the edge of the area but he curled his effort wide of the post.
Embleton then tried his luck from 20-yards but his strike was easily saved by Ben Amos.
Latics first threatened when McClean almost played Will Keane through on goal, but keeper Anthony Patterson came out to claim the loose ball.
The visitors then had another chance when Keane got up to meet a Wyke flick-on from a Max Power throw-in, but his header from the centre of the box cleared the crossbar.
Roberts then had a goal ruled out for offside for Sunderland.
But just before half-time Latics were ahead, when Wyke scored his second goal since returning from a cardiac arrest.
Nathan Broadhead played the ball into McClean’s path whose cross was deflected into Wyke at the far post, and the former Sunderland striker took a touch before curling a superb strike into the top corner.
The hosts started the second half on the front foot, and they were level in the 54th minute when Embleton finished from close range from Cirkin’s cut-back.
Latics tried to restore their lead and McClean saw his curling free-kick pushed behind for a corner by Patterson.
Latics dropped back into defence and the hosts pushed forward to gain the advantage. Latics’ defence were asleep as Cirkin gave them the lead on 72nd minutes when he powered a header home at the far post from Alex Pritchard’s quickly taken free-kick.
Thelo Aasgaard, Josh Magennis, Graeme Shinnie and Ashley Fletcher replaced Tilt, Naylor, Broadhead and Wyke as Richardson tried to get Latics back on level terms.
Darikwa had a chance following a goal-mouth scramble, but he dragged his effort wide of the target.
As the minutes ticked down Magennis had a half chance, but Sunderland held on to take the three points.
Latics had lacked the high intensity of their performance against Blackburn on Tuesday night.
Max Power, Tom Naylor and Tendayi Darikwa were all excellent against Blackburn but they were way below that standard against Sunderland.
Latics pressed high in the first half with Wyke working tirelessly but as the game progressed they fell further back and struggled to contain Sunderland.
Ultimately it was a couple defensive lapses that were the decisive moments of the game as Sunderland capitalised.
Latics must get back to playing with high intensity, and if they do so, they will have a great opportunity to take the three points against Middlesbrough at the DW Stadium on Wednesday night.
Post match comments
Speaking afterwards, Richardson was naturally disappointed after falling on the wrong side of the result, though he expressed the importance of his side coming together and bouncing back against Middlesbrough.
“It was disappointing,” he said.
“I thought the first half was very evenly matched, and we controlled the game in certain areas.
“We were very worthy of our goal in the first half, and in the second half, they had a 15-20 minute spell where our distances weren’t great and we never got to grips with them.
“They scored two goals in our box which is unlike us, but we had a few chances at the end where we possibly could’ve nicked an equaliser.
“The lads gave us everything all the way to the end, and there was only one team who were looking likely to score at the end.
“We won on Tuesday, and we will learn (from) today. Our lads gave everything and we will quickly move on.
“It’s the same messages. We have to keep improving, and we’re all making small steps forward. We certainly won’t get emotionally attached to results because we know we’ve got another game on Wednesday.”