What happened there? If the Latics had won this game 3-0 Sunderland couldn`t have complained, nearly 70% possession tells its own story, a couple of strange refereeing decisions and some dodgy defending once again undoing all the good work.
Momo Diame and Victor Moses were both rested for the game, Ben Watson and Albert Crusat given starts, whilst Steve Gohouri came in for the suspended Gary Caldwell in the heart of the Latics defence.
Crusat made an immediate impact as the Latics totally dominated the first half, the little Spaniards pace and trickery was tying the Sunderland defence in knots, after just five minutes a penalty should have been awarded when Crusat burst into the box only to be pushed, two hands in the middle of his back, he stumbled but hit the ball across the penalty area, referee Mike Dean somehow deciding this was advantage and signalled play-on?
The big chance of the half saw Dave Jones burst into the area and hit a wicked left footed strike that cannoned off the inside of the far post, the ball fell to James McCarthy who pulled back for Ben Watson to thunder a strike that rebounded off the other post and run across the face of goal before being hoofed clear, Latics were well on top and it seemed only a matter of time before they broke the deadlock.
On 38 minutes Crusat was caught in the back by Vaughan`s knee as they challenged for the ball, no intent from the Sunderland man, but, after lengthy treatment Crusat had to leave the field and was replaced by Moses.
With the half-time fast approaching the weather deteriorated rapidly and a swirling wind with a mixture of hail and rain began to force errors on the pitch, though it was the referee who made the most costly, deep into stoppage time at the end of the half a Latics shot was palmed out for a corner by the Sunderland keeper Mingolet, the assistant referee signalled corner, Sunderland defenders started to retreat but Mike Dean over ruled the decision and awarded a goal kick, from the resultant punt up field Bendtner, under no pressure or contact seemed to lose his footing and fell to the ground, Dean awarded a free kick 25 yards out dead central.
With the last action of the half Craig Gardner stepped up and took the free kick, he hit the ball goalwards, the wind caught it, swirled past Al-Habsi and into the back of the net, 0-1.
Quite possibly the most one sided game of football that I have ever witnessed and we were a goal down, still the second half would bring the goals that the Latics play deserved. Well you’d have thought so.
Unfortunately 10 minutes in and the ball was lost in midfield, Sunderland broke and Vaughan crossed for McClean to score on his second attempt after his first was superbly saved by Al-Habsi, 0-2.
Seven minutes later and the Latics got the goal they had been threatening all game, McCarthy found Rodallega on the edge of the box and the Colombia international buried his effort into the bottom corner, game on, 1-2.
On 73 minutes a shocking piece of defending by Figueroa allowed Bendtner to run free, the Sunderland striker crossed to the far post for Sessegnon to fire home, 1-3.
Latics by now had lost their shape as they tried in vain to get back into the game and with another break on 80 minutes Sunderland wrapped up the scoring when Vaughan hit a 20 yard effort into the top corner, 1-4.
How we lost this game I don’t know, to lose by the score line that we did is just baffling, lets hope that its not hit the confidence too much
Latics: Al-Habsi, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Stam (Sammon 58), Watson (Diame 86), McCarthy, Jones, Gomez, Crusat (Moses 39), Rodallega.
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Di Santo, McArthur, Boyce.
Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner (Elmohamady 83), Kilgallon, O`Shea, Colback, McClean (Ji 89), Cattermole, Vaughan, Richardson (Meyler 67), Sessegnon, Bendtner.
Subs Not Used: Carson, Noble, Lynch, Laing.
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