A performance full of grit and determination was enough to secure victory for Wigan, although the game was not without controversy.
Steve Bruce was forced to ring the changes, bringing in Watson in to replace the suspended Cattermole and opting for a 4-5-1 line up, replacing Zaki with Scharner as an attacking midfielder.
The match was played in a gale force wind and despite this, both teams seemed to want to play the ball in the air, resulting in a disjointed game with many mis-placed passes.
Latics once again looked solid at the back with the two B’s, Boyce and Bramble once again outstanding. Watson looked the part in centre midfield and provided an outlet for both wingers.
The early part of the first half had very few chances, with Latics having the best of the territory. The opening goal when it came, was the result of a poor clearance by the Sunderland defence, which fell to Watson, whose shot beat Fulop in the Sunderland goal and nestled in the bottom corner.
Latics continued to dominate with Sunderlnd playing almost like an away team and looking to catch Wigan on the break. Latics defence dealt with most of the threats from Cisse and Jones but on the three occasions that they got through Kirkland pulled off three superb saves, one a double save.
The equiliser when it came had a touch of fortune to it,a goal kick was headed on, Latics failed to put in a telling tackle and the ball fell to Leadbitter who gave Kirkland no chance.
It appeared that the game would finish one all at half time but just on the stroke of half time , the incident which turned the game occured. A Sunderland attack broke down on the edge of the Wigan area, with Jones lying down possibly with a head injury. Mike Dean looked at him and waved play on. Latics broke down the left and fed N’Zogbia whose mayzee run beat several players, before his final shot beat Fulop for a quite amazing goal.
Mr Dean waved away the protests of the Sunderland players who will no doubt complain that play should have been halted.
The second half started with Sunderland pressing forward and Cisse and Jones linking well, forcing Boyce and Bramble into some vital tackles.
Twice Sunderlamd thought that they had secured an equiliser but both times the y were ruled for offside.
At the other end Scharner had a great chance when through on the left but he tried to beat the keeper with N’Zogbia was unmarked in the centre and Fulop saved well.
Latics were under pressure for long periods as the second half wore on but a committed defensive performance gave them the three points.
How many times has he saved us this season?
Well organised and committed.
Another brilliant performance from my player of the season.
Whatever he wants for his new contract, give it to him.
Some nice passes but didn’t take the defenders on as he usually does, raisng queries regarding his fitness.
A good defensive performance but some truly awful passing.
The best midfielder on the pitch.
Did nothing until that goal. Looked sharper in the second half
Showed today that he is a centre half. Was poor going forward and struggled to mark a man .
Couldn’t fault his effort today but was always going to find it difficult as a lone forward.
A cameo ten minutes from the Egyptian. Looked sharper than of late.
It did its job but against better sides we would have struggled. Most of the midfielders seemed to find it difficult to pick their man up and luckily the back four and Kirkland were superb.