Wigan 1 - 1 Sunderland - Match Report
Call it brave, call it scrappy, call it what you like, but whatever you decide make sure it`s positive because it`s what Sunderland deserve after a 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium today.
But yet again Lee Cattermole is the talk of the town for the wrong reasons as he saw his second red card of the season when he was given his marching orders after just 23 minutes.
Asamoah Gyan did manage to bring some smiles to the 5000 travelling fans, when he scored a dream debut goal 20 minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Steve Bruce opted to start Danny Welbeck after an impressing against Manchester City and with the England under-21`s and left the returning John Mensah on the bench.
It was a game Sunderland were penned down to win, and with more than one goal, but it was the case of the away jitters again with Wigan being dominant.
Easy enough to say after two heavy defeats and a scrappy victory recently, but things looked liked luck would be against the away side.
Cattermole receiving the first of his bookings when he clattered into Mohamed Diame after 18 minutes, but the worst was yet to come, much to the delight to the Wigan fans.
Keeper Ali Al Habsi quickly throwing the ball out to Hugo Rodallega who was just too quick during the counter attack and the 22-year old recklessly mistimed his challenge to get his marching orders.
Steve Bruce shuffled his pack but it fell to kindly to Wigan, who played with relaxation and directness, if the first half awarded points, they would of went to the home side.
After the break Bruce gambled and decided to bring in the man Wearside was talking about Gyan.
But the Ghanaian would have to wait for this chance as Rodallega looked to be spurred on to impress after a quiet first half.
The Ecuadorian tested Simon Mignolet with a low shot and again minutes later, this time forcing a good save from the Belgian keeper.
Mauro Boselli touch letting him down after a Mohammed Diame`s great ball found the Argentinean in space.
Wigan looked more nervous as the game went on and it began to show, the display from the first half evaporated and was derailed by a moment of magic.
Jordan Henderson, fresh from his England U21 stint, managing to wriggle away from Diame with neat footwork and delivering a delicious cross to the far post, and Gyan nipped in ahead of Steve Gohouri to stab home a left-footed volley on the edge of the six-yard box.
After that goal it seemed to have switched The Latics on and their chances came in numbers, Di Santo standing up a superb ball for Boselli at the far post only for the Argentinean to head wide with the goal at his mercy.
Boselli would make way for Tom Cleverley, who is on loan from Manchester United, and the impact would be immediate.
His shot rebounded off the head of Antolin Alcaraz to give the home side something to cheer about.
Bruce offered little support for Cattermole and his sending off, insisting he has to learn.
He said "The one thing he has got to learn is that once you have got a yellow card, you simply can't go to ground,' Bruce said.
"He has made a genuine attempt for the ball, he has mistimed it and he has got to learn that.
"It has happened twice in a month which is not healthy, not for him or the team. He has to learn from it and we will be having conversations with him.
"I`ve got no excuses for him. It was two yellow cards, simple as that."
In regards to the match he told SAFC.com "I'd just like to say personally a big thanks to the supporters who were magnificent today. The team responded to them.
"They worked their socks off it`s just a shame that they didn`t get their reward for it. It was a good performance you can see what we`re trying to do as a team. That was more like it. There was a freshness about us.
"It`s a dream start for Asamoah. Great piece of skill, great goal, it is just unfortunate that we were unable to hang on.
"Jordan put in a great ball, and Asamoah got on the end of it. It wasn`t an easy goal, he had another chance shortly after where he blazed the ball over the bar - signs were decent.
"There was a great atmosphere today, the supporters made it. It was great to see.
"I`m pleased with 10 men we`ve still given them something to shout about. I suppose they`ll go home quite happy with their team`s performance. "