Wigan Athletic visited Sunderland yesterday hoping to carry on from where they left off against Blackpool, but unfortunately it wasn`t to be, despite a goal of the season contender from Momo Diame putting the Latics in front on 52 minutes, a further five goals, four from Sunderland dumped the Latics back in the bottom three.
The first half of the game never got going, after just three minutes Sunderland`s Phil Bardsley suffered a clash of heads with his team mate Nedum Onuoha, Bardsley lost consciousness and was eventually stretchered off after 7 minutes of treatment by paramedics on the pitch. Thankfully after being checked out in hospital Bardsley was given the all clear.
Within 15 minutes of the re-start the game was stopped again with Sunderland striker Danny Wellbeck needing treatment and then being eventually replaced by Steed Malbranque, the stoppages seemed to disrupt the flow of the game and the first half never got going.
Just two efforts on target both from the Latics, Charles N`Zogbia hit a shot that Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet dealt comfortably with, and a rasping volley from Hugo Rodallega that Mignolet did well to turn over for a Latics corner, but that was as good as it got.
The second period started a lot more livelier and Sunderland took the initiative but it was the Latics who took the lead. Diame picked the ball up 25 yards out and unleashed a thunderous drive that flew into Mignolets top corner, 1-0 to the Latics.
Scoring appeared to be the worst thing that the Latics could do, Sunderland suddenly had an air of urgency about them and prompted by the lively Asamoah Gyan they hit back straight away.
Gyan appeared to foul Latics defender Gary Caldwell on the edge of the box chasing a loose ball, but the ref, Lee Probert, saw it differently and gave the free-kick to Sunderland and booked Caldwell, the free-kick was poorly taken but the ball found its way back into the Latics area and Gyan headed home at the near post, 1-1.
Latics seemed to fall apart at this moment and lost all their shape, eleven minutes later and Sunderland were in front. Jordan Henderson looked to have too much freedom in the Latics box and defenders appeared to be afraid to challenge has they allowed the midfield man to smash home from eight yards, 2-1.
On 73 minutes, Sunderland`s Stephane Sessegnon went shoulder to shoulder with Antolin Alcaraz in the Latics box, the ref blew for a penalty! Which Sessegnon took himself sending Al-Habsi the wrong way, 3-1.
Just four minutes later Sunderland went further in front when both Caldwell and Alcaraz went after Sessegnon on the Latics left leaving Henderson totally free in the middle of the area, Sessegnon squared to Henderson who calmly slotted home, 4-1 and it was beginning to look desperate.
Martinez threw Franco Di Santo on for Charles N`Zogbia for the final ten minutes and the Argentine striker grabbed his first goal since becoming a Latics player in the last minute of the game, sliding in at the far post to poke home a Victor Moses cross, 4-2.
Not the follow up to the Blackpool game that was expected and back in the bottom three with just four to go, starting to look a little tight at the bottom
Sunderland: Mignolet; Bardsley (Ferdinand, 10), Turner, Onuoha, El Mohamady; Henderson, Cattermole, Colback, Sessegnon; Welbeck (Malbranque, 26), Gyan (Muntari, 64)
Subs: Carson, Zenden, Riveros, Meyler
Latics: Al Habsi; Boyce (Stam, 75), G. Caldwell, Alcaraz, Gohouri; Watson, Diame, McCarthy (Moses, 68); N’Zogbia (Di Santo, 84), Cleverley, Rodallega
Subs: Kirkland, Thomas, Gomez, Sammon