Sunderland cruise past Wigan

29 December 2022 0 By Total Football News

Sunderland moved up into fourth in the Championship with a thumping 4-1 victory over Wigan at the DW Stadium.

Second-half goals from Ross Stewart, Patrick Roberts and Amad Diallo earned the visitors a fourth win in six games.

Ellis Simms’ early opener had been cancelled out by Will Keane for the Latics, who slip to the bottom of the table after a third successive defeat.

Former Sunderland man James McClean was in the middle of the action from the off, being first in referee Michael Salisbury’s notebook for clattering Edouard Michut.

Wigan centre-back Charlie Hughes – who only made his first league start at Middlesbrough on Boxing Day – was forced off inside 15 minutes through injury.

That meant a reshuffle, with Ryan Nyambe – a right-back by trade – taking over alongside Curtis Tilt.

Only a miraculous save from Jamie Jones prevented Sunderland taking the lead in the 19th minute when, after saving a Diallo effort with his legs, the Wigan goalkeeper somehow got back to claw Abdoullah Ba’s strike from on the line.

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However, his efforts were in vain as seconds later Sunderland scored anyway when Trai Hume crossed for the unmarked Simms to nod home from a yard.

Wigan almost levelled when Max Power’s corner was cleared to the edge of the area and McClean’s volley hit the angle of the post and the bar and away to safety.

Seconds later, at the other end, Wigan were stretched and Diallo drilled against the bar from the edge of the area.

It was unlikely Simms’ goal was going to be the only one of the night, and Wigan duly restored parity three minutes before the interval.

Thelo Aasgaard’s shot from 20 yards was parried out by Anthony Patterson and Keane stabbed home from eight yards.

The game settled down after the break but Wigan threatened when Callum Lang managed to get in down the right flank. As he pulled the trigger, though, Luke O’Nien got back with a phenomenal block in the nick of time.

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray made a trip change after 64 minutes, including attacking duo Roberts and Stewart.

And the switch quickly paid dividends as Roberts was tripped inside the box by Tom Naylor and Stewart scored from 12 yards.

Roberts settled the contest with Sunderland’s third goal five minutes from time, with a shot that took a massive deflection on its way past Jones.

And Diallo made it 4-1 four minutes later with a superb strike from 20 yards.

What the managers said…

Wigan’s Kolo Toure: “I feel they have been two scorelines that didn’t reflect the games we played. Conceding goals of course isn’t great. But trying to score goals when you are losing is part of the game, you have to go for it. We are not a team that, when you are losing a game, you just try to defend. We want to come back in games, but when you do that, you can lose 4-1 – and that is very tough to take.

“The penalty, in my opinion, was harsh, and I don’t think a team like Sunderland needed those kinds of decisions to help them. After that we are chasing the game, and you have to react to that. We want to keep attacking and score, and when you’re playing against a Sunderland side with so many attacking options, you are risking being punished.”

Sunderland’s Tony Mowbray: “We’re competing, and the target for this club is still to stay in this league, and to try and compete around mid-table. That might be the case come the end of the season, depending on how the squad survives the rigours of the campaign. At the moment, we’re not dreaming of anything else, the fans can dream of course, because we’re in the mix at the moment with loads and loads of other good clubs.

“Lose two games, though, and all of a sudden you’re 15th. Win two games, and all of a sudden you’re fourth. That’s the madness of the league really, and all you can do is keep competing as best you can. There’s some really tough games around the corner, and some games we feel we can target as ones we have to try and win. We know we have to keep picking up points.”

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