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Sunderland revival continues
Published : 03 Jan 2012 22:16:57
Injury-hit Sunderland thrashed Wigan 4-1 to earn their first Barclays Premier League victory at the DW Stadium and ensure Martin O'Neill's golden start to life at the Black Cats continued.
Wigan dominated the first half, with one shot cleared off the line and two hitting the woodwork but they went into the break behind as Craig Gardner took advantage of the swirling wind to power a 30-year free-kick into the top corner.
James McClean extended the lead with his first Sunderland goal and, although Hugo Rodallega briefly gave Wigan hope with his first of the season, Sunderland sealed the points through Stephane Sessegnon and David Vaughan.
The wind played a major role as, having been on the back foot nearly all half and with injury time almost up, Sunderland took the lead.
Referee Mike Dean ruled Nicklas Bendtner had been fouled by Watson 30 yards out despite howls of protest from the home fans and Gardner's free-kick changed direction in the wind and found the top corner with Ali Al Habsi rooted to the spot.
Sunderland doubled their lead in the 55th minute when Vaughan picked out 22-year-old McClean, just onside in the middle of the box, and, although Al Habsi produced a good save from his first header, the goalkeeper could do nothing about the follow-up.
Their two-goal advantage lasted only seven minutes, though, and for once it was Wigan who had the stroke of fortune. Rodallega's turn on the edge of the box was sharp but his shot only beat Simon Mignolet with the help of a big deflection off Matt Kilgallon.
Wigan's hopes of taking something were surely extinguished in the 73rd minute, though, when Bendtner got away from Maynor Figueroa down the right and crossed for Sessegnon to convert.
Sunderland were having one of those nights and with 10 minutes to go a Sessegnon shot hit Antolin Alcaraz and rebounded to Vaughan 20 yards out who blasted a strike of the highest quality into the top corner.
The victory made it 13 points from six games for O'Neill while it brought Wigan's run of good form to a shuddering halt as they remained stuck in the bottom three.