Sunderland return to winning ways after fighting back to beat Wigan
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PA Sport Staff
Press Association
Dennis Cirkin was Sunderland’s match-winner (Jacques Feeney/PA)
Dennis Cirkin was Sunderland’s match-winner (Jacques Feeney/PA)

Elliot Embleton and Dennis Cirkin led a second-half Sunderland comeback to secure a first win in five games for Tony Mowbray’s side with a 2-1 victory over Wigan.

Charlie Wyke had continued his fine return to football with a second goal in as many weeks at his former ground, but a formation change from Mowbray at the interval turned the tide of the contest definitively.

The Black Cats were a constant threat during the second half and then came through a late barrage to secure the points.

Wyke’s opener came at the end of a first half in which Sunderland had largely dominated, albeit without carving out too many significant chances.

The hosts continued to struggle in the absence of a senior striker, seeing plenty of the ball but with little end product.

After early efforts from Patrick Roberts and Embleton, both sides struggled to build any momentum in a stop-start contest, though that suited the visitors far more than Sunderland.

Sunderland went close when Alex Pritchard found Roberts in the box with a sublime through ball, but the offside flag was raised as he fired home.

Another fine move saw Pritchard then release Jack Clarke in the box, but on his weaker left foot he could only shoot wide of the far post.

The hosts were growing in confidence but within minutes they were behind.

Former Sunderland striker Nathan Broadhead spotted his opportunity to spin away from Luke O’Nien and suddenly the break was on. He found another former Black Cats player in winger James McClean on the left and he in turn picked out ex-Sunderland striker Wyke, who had pulled into space at the back post and converted a deft volley.

Sunderland boss Mowbray responded by switching to a more aggressive formation at half-time and was rewarded almost immediately, Embleton levelling the scores when he converted Cirkin’s low cross from close range.

Sunderland were dominating the contest now and had their deserved second when Pritchard spotted the opportunity to take a quick free-kick, unfurling a glorious cross to the back post that Cirkin powered home with an excellent header.

It came at the end of a passage of play in which four times they had got the ball into the six-yard box without finding that crucial final touch.

Wigan pressed hard for an equaliser and will feel they should have got one, Will Keane heading McClean’s corner wide before Cirkin was forced into a block near his own goalline.


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