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Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Saturday, 14 March 2009

Sunderland 1-2 Wigan

By Mandeep Sanghera

Charles N'Zogbia rounds off his run by slotting in Wigan's second at Sunderland
N'Zogbia rounds off his run by slotting in Wigan's second

Wigan took advantage of a poor Sunderland display to earn a victory at the Stadium of Light.

Ben Watson drove in a shot from just outside the area to put the visitors ahead after the Black Cats defence failed to clear a long ball.

Grant Leadbitter steered in an equaliser when the ball fell to him after three headed knock-ons.

But Charles N'Zogbia ran from his own half to slot in for Wigan, who held off some late pressure to secure victory.

It was three points which ended run of eight matches without a win for the Latics.

In particular, Wigan had endured problems scoring goals following the January transfer window exit of Emile Heskey but they took the lead after a low-key start.

Sbragia unhappy with 'worst' performance

Sunderland's defence failed to clear a long goal-kick from Chris Kirkland and the ball fell to Watson to grab his first goal for the club since his move from Crystal Palace.

Kirkland turned from provider to saviour soon after when he produced a brilliant double save.

The Wigan keeper clawed away a deflected Andy Reid strike and quickly got up to smother at the feet of Steed Malbranque.

That was a rare moment of danger from the home side in a lethargic and lacklustre showing.

Djibril Cisse was doing his best to provide a much-needed spark of inspiration for the Black Cats and he had a shot saved before firing into the side-netting.


The frustration of the home fans was growing until a leveller unexpectedly arrived.

A long goal-kick was headed on by Cisse, Malbranque and Kenwyne Jones before Leadbitter applied the finishing touch by steering a shot past Kirkland.

But the lead did not last long as Wigan cleared their lines to N'Zogbia just inside their own half and he ran at the Sunderland goal and slotted in to round off an excellent counter-attack.

The home side will be aggrieved that play was not stopped with Jones was laying injured at the other end.

Bruce satisfied with 'big' win

However, they did not merit being on level terms as they did little to lift themselves further away from the relegation zone.

Paul Scharner should have added to the home side's misery when one-on-one with Marton Fulop only to see his shot saved by the keeper.

Sunderland had the ball in the net twice but both were rightly ruled out for offside as they fell to a defeat which had their fans booing them off at the final whistle.

Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia:
"They pay their money and are entitled to vent their frustration. It is up to us to deliver and sadly we didn't.

"I thought we were poor in general and the worst performance we've probably had since I took over.

"We lacked tempo, decision-making and paid the penalty for sloppy defending."

Wigan manager Steve Bruce:
"We are delighted because you can't go, a club like ours - or any club, for that matter - six or seven weeks without getting a victory.

"Even though the old spiel comes out that we have played some big teams over the last few weeks and been a bit unfortunate, you need to win.

"A club like ours always needs 10 wins and we have got there."

Sunderland: Fulop, Bardsley, Ben-Haim (Healy 77), Collins, McCartney, Malbranque (Edwards 63), Whitehead, Leadbitter, Reid (Murphy 60), Jones, Cisse.
Subs Not Used: Gordon, Yorke, Davenport, McShane.

Goals: Leadbitter 41.

Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Figueroa, Scharner, Valencia, Watson, Brown, N'Zogbia, Mido (Zaki 84).
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Edman, Kapo, Koumas, Rodallega, De Ridder.

Booked: Brown.

Goals: Watson 12, N'Zogbia 45.

Att: 39,266

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Wigan's Chris Kirkland on 7.71 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Saturday's football photos
14 Mar 09 |  Football

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