Gyan rises to spark Sunderland revival

Sunderland 4 Wigan Athletic 2: Wigan score first and last but four goals in between worsen their troubles

For 13 weeks, ever since their victorious visit to Blackpool on 22 January, it had all been downhill for Sunderland, save for the brief plateau of a goalless draw at Arsenal. Yesterday it was a 90-minute rollercoaster of a ride for Steve Bruce and his side on home ground.

They lost their principal strikers, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck, to injury, had Phil Bardsley taken off on a stretcher after three minutes and found themselves a goal down against rivals in the scrap to beat the Premier League drop. But with three goals in 22 second-half minutes the Black Cats got moving in an upward direction once again.

Thanks to a gutsy display driven by their captain, Lee Cattermole, an equaliser from Gyan, a brace from Jordan Henderson and a penalty from Stéphane Sessègnon, Sunderland had their first win in 10 matches,trebling their points tally from their previous nine games. They are up five places into 10th position, the top half of the table and have 41 points, seven more than Wigan, who are back in the bottom three.

The Sunderland fans celebrated and Bruce breathed such a prolonged sigh of relief he could not bring himself to speak at the post-match press conference. "Steve's fine," Eric Black, his assistant and press room stand-in, said. "His heart rate's down to about 184."

The Sunderland manager was shaking his head in dismay when Bardsley was knocked out after an accidental clash of heads with Nedum Onuoha, the stricken full-back receiving oxygen treatment before being carried off. The January departure of Darren Bent to Aston Villa has been widely regarded as the main reason for Sunderland's nosedive in form, but they have suffered a string of misfortunes on the injury front. After 25 minutes yesterday they had another casualty, Welbeck hobbling off in a hamstrung state. Bruce sent on Steed Malbranque, switching Sessègnon from the left wing to an attacking support role alongside Gyan.

There was also a scare for Bruce on the half-hour when the ball broke to Hugo Rodallega on the right edge of Sunderland's penalty area. The big Colombian, who was signed for Wigan by Bruce, belted a right-foot drive that Simon Mignolet did well to punch over the bar.

But the Belgian goalkeeper could not do anything about the 25-yard piledriver Mohamed Diamé smacked past him seven minutes after the interval. "Brucie, Brucie, what's the score?" the Wigan fans enquired.

Three minutes later it was 1-1. Malbranque whipped in a left-footed cross from the right and Gyan beat Ali Al-Habsi with a flashing header, taking the Ghanaian's Premier League tally for the season into double figures.

Gyan was chasing his second of the afternoon when he pulled up, clutching his left hamstring. Cue the stretcher again and the arrival of Sulley Muntari. Bruce was left with a diminutive front two of Malbranque and Sessègnon. The omens did not look great. But with 67 minutes on the clock, Muntari fed the ball in from the right, Henderson trapped it on his chest, drifted to the left and fired a left-foot drive into the top corner. The home fans had given their team sustained vocal support from the off, but you could still feel the pressure lifting around the ground.

By the 73rd minute it was party time. When Sessègnon was bundled over by Antolin Alcaraz the Benin international stepped up and made it 3-1 from the penalty spot – "a ridiculous decision," Roberto Martinez, Wigan's manager, maintained afterwards. Then Sessègnon, a £6 million January signing from Paris Saint-Germain, turned provider, squaring the ball for Henderson to claim his second with a neat side-footed finish.

The celebrating Sunderland fans could afford the luxury of an ironic cheer when the visitors' substitute Franco Di Santo halved the deficit in injury time. Their team were off the relegation hook – unlike Wigan.

Attendance: 39,650

Referee: Lee Probert

Man of the match: Cattermole

Match rating: 8/10

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
TVSPOILER ALERT: It's all coming together as series returns to form
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
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

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine