Di Santo pounces on nervy Sunderland error to pile pressure on Bruce

Sunderland 1 Wigan Athletic 2

Stadium of Light

There was joy for a Jordi in Sunderland yesterday but sheer despair for the Geordie in charge of Wearside's Premier League club. Jordi Gomez's 44th-minute equaliser from the penalty spot cranked up the pressure on Steve Bruce in a contest he dared not lose. Franco Di Santo's 93rd-minute winner left the home fans turning en masse on the Black Cats manager with the Tyneside roots. "You fat Geordie bastard, get out of our club," was the resounding chant as a crestfallen Bruce disappeared down the tunnel at the final whistle.

There have been "Bruce out" chants before, but in isolation and in passing. This time the volume of the dissent had a sea-change feel about it. Having failed to register a win in successive home games against Fulham and the team that started the weekend at the foot of thePremier League, and onlysucceeded in scraping a solitary point, Bruce's future may well be called into question as his side's campaign threatens to descend into a relegation fight.

Writing in the match programme, Ellis Short, the American businessman who succeeded Niall Quinn as Sunderland chairman at the start of October, did not feel "there is a need to panic".

Whether Short will be more inclined to reach for the panic button after witnessing the self-destructive finale yesterday remains to be seen. As for Bruce, he cut a haunted figure at pitch-side after Wes Brown and Kieren Westwood made a hash of seemingly routine defensive duties, letting James McArthur nip in, steal the ball and square it for Di Santo, a fellow Wigan substitute, to side-foot the winner.

It was like flicking a switch as the frustration gave vent to venom pouring forth in Bruce's direction. "It borders on abuse," the Sunderland manager said. "I can't help where I was born. When it gets like it is it's disappointing. But I'm a resilient so-and-so. I'm determined to see it through. My intention is not to walk away and quit. That is not in my nature."

Sunderland go to Wolves next Saturday just two points ahead of Wigan, who moved off the bottom with only their second win of the season. "It is a contrast of emotions," Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said. "Seven days ago we were on the floor, as bad as you can feel. This week we are as delighted as you can be."

Unfortunate in the extreme to be held to a 3-3 draw at home to Blackburn the previous Saturday, Wigan did not get off to the best of starts yesterday. When Nicklas Bendtner curled a low ball into the heart of their penalty area in the eighth minute, goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi allowed the ball to bounce off his chest and, although he blocked Kieran Richardson's follow-up, Sebastian Larsson lashed the loose ball home.

Wigan's Omani keeper redeemed himself, thwarting Richardson, Brown, Larsson and John O'Shea. Phil Bardsley also blazed a shot over the bar with the goal by his mercy and as half-time approached the tide turned. Two minutes before the interval Larsson was adjudged to have tripped Victor Moses on the left edge of the Sunderland area and Gomez blasted in the penalty.

Sunderland were a bag or nerves thereafter. They had a penalty claim when a drive from Jack Colback appeared to strike the arm of a Wigan player, and Richardson had two late chances that came his way. As it was, they were undone by an anxiety attack in injury time, Brown choosing to play a nervy wall-pass with Westwood before losing possession and, with it, the game.

Sunderland (4-4-2): Westwood; O'Shea (Ji, 84), Turner, Brown, Bardsley (Vaughan, 66); Larsson, Cattermole (Gardner, 66), Colback, Sessegnon; Richardson, Bendtner.

Wigan (5-1-3-1): Al Habsi; Stam (McArthur, 74), Gohouri, Caldwell, Figueroa, Jones; Diame; Gomez, McCarthy, Moses; Sammon (Di Santo, 84).

Referee Kevin Friend.

Man of the match Al-Habsi (Wigan).

Match rating 5/10.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project