Writer: Michael Briggs
Date:Sunday February 7 2010
Sunderland were lucky to walk away with a point tonight as they managed to battle away to finish the game 1-1.
Kenwyne Jones`s 64th minute header was enough to deny Wigan a victory after they took the lead thanks to a fine goal by Mohamed Diame after 20 minutes.
Jones earlier had a shot push on to the post and Darren Bent had a goal ruled off for offside controversially.
Alan Hutton made his home debut and looked to be a decent signing from Tottenham, dealing with constant attacks and also doing well in creating chances by going forward.
But the game was marred by a serious looking ankle injury to midfielder Jordan Henderson that resulted in him being stretched off just after the equalising goal.
It was a mixed game for the home side as they started off with the same frantic display that they cant seem to lose at the minute and it showed on the pitch.
Long-term target Maynor Figueroa almost stunned the Stadium of Light with an ambitious volley from the left side of the pitch just after the 15 minutes.
Paul Scharner then should have put the away side into the lead but his miss-hit shot bobbled wide of the goal.
Sunderland did show glimmers of hope when Jones again weaved past the Wigan defence only for his shot to be pushed on to the post by Figueroa.
Lee Cattermole then had his long range shot pushed over the bar by former England keeper Chris Kirkland.
Andy Reid had a first half he will want to forget about with, like he done against stoke, misplacing simple crosses and execute vital passes, the same can be said with the out of sorts George McCartney.
It was met with a growing frustration by the crowd as they showered Steve Bruce`s men with boo`s when the half time whistle was blown.
The second half began with immediate pace; when Jones put through Bent only for him to be called offside by the third official.
Michael Turner then had his header just go wide of the goal on the hour mark but the closing stages all fell nicely for the travelling side.
N`Zogbia and Rodallega`s pace caused Sunderland countless problems through out the last 20 minutes but it did stop the powerful Jones.
Great wing work from Henderson resulted in the number 17 rising the highest and perfectly directing his header to lift the obvious tension around the Stadium of Light.
Seven minutes where displayed for the additional minutes due to the long time out to treat and stretch off Henderson, who looked to have been tackled awkwardly.
Bent then could of given the Sunderland what they needed but had his shot saved from a flat out Kirkland.
Last minute signing Benjani did come on to make his debut in the 80th minute, but not even he could conjure up any magic to end what was another dismal performance.
Henderson could be out for months with the injury but will have to wait of results from MRI and X-Ray scans within the next 24 hours.
Black Cats boss Steve Bruce looks to have all but have his mind set for a relegation battle.
Speaking about the disappointing run he said, 'I am not enjoying it. I'm not unduly worried, but I am not enjoying it, that's for sure.
'After a really fantastic start, we have had a horrible run, it's as simple as that, but we have to try to arrest it, starting on Tuesday.'
"I've got no excuses for the first half in particular. We have to be better than that. We had to calm a few down at half time and tell them to take their time and play the game.
"There were better signs in the second half - we got hold of the ball and created some better chances. With a bit of luck, we could have nicked it.
They saw the response from the players and they nearly got us over the line, so I thank them for that.
[On Henderson's injury]: 'That's the most disappointing thing of the afternoon. It doesn't look great for the kid.'
Date:Sunday February 7 2010
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