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14:05 23rd April 2011


Latics' survival battle suffers blow at Sunderland despite taking lead in second-half

Gyan, 55
Henderson, 65, 77
Sessegnon, 72 (pen)

Diame, 52
Di Santo, 90

Report by Paul Chialton

A disappointing and frustrating afternoon at the Stadium of Light that was on course to reward Latics with consecutive victories for the first time under Roberto Martinez.

Having taken the lead in emphatic style through Mohamed Diame's thunderbolt early in the second-half Latics looked dangerous, and had stepped things up after containing Sunderland for the first 45 minutes.

The Senegalese international rocketed a right-foot effort into the top-corner at the opposite end to where he scored his first club goal last season, but the celebrations were short-lived.

Minutes later the home side got another bite of the cherry following a poor free-kick when Steed Malbranque whipped a cross to the front-post for Asamoah Gyan to nod home from close-range.

It was a pivotal moment in the game as the away side just couldn't get a hold of the game from there onwards.

Jordan Henderson pounced on a loose ball inside the area before lashing into the top-corner and the decisive goal followed soon after when Stephane Sessegnon drew a challenge from Antolin Alcaraz inside the area that the Paraguayan was penalised for.

Up stepped the midfielder to slot into the bottom right corner and seal the home side's first home victory since New Year's Day.

As Roberto Martinez's men pushed forward in search of a response gaps opened up at the back which the home side exploited, Sessegnon squaring for Henderson to score his second of the game and rub salt into the wounds of the away side.

This fixture has been infamous for players grabbing their first club goals and late on there was time for Franco Di Santo to notch his, pouncing on Victor Moses' low cross to the back-post - one positive to take from the game.

Overall though not the follow-up the fans expected after last weekend's inspirational win at Blackpool, and with four games to go the team must re-group to re-ignite their survival fight at home to Everton.

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

Sunderland: Mignolet; Bardsley (Ferdinand, 10), Turner, Onuoha, El Mohamady; Henderson, Cattermole, Colback, Sessegnon; Welbeck (Malbranque, 26), Gyan (Muntari, 64)

Subs: Carson, Zenden, Riveros, Meyler

    Data provided by Press Association