Fletcher fires Sunderland to first win

Premier League, Stadium of Light - Sunderland 1 (Fletcher 51) Wigan Athletic 0

Fletcher fires Sunderland to first win

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2012-13 Sunderland v Wigan

Steven Fletcher helped Sunderland to their first Premier League win of the season as they beat Wigan 1-0 at the Stadium of Light.

Fletcher struck early in the second-half after Wigan were reduced to ten men following a red card for Jordi Gomez - the Spaniard's late challenge on Danny Rose giving referee Howard Webb an easy decision.

Wigan failed to recover following the dismissal and struggled to gain momentum during the second half. A missed chance from striker Arouna Kone in the first-half could have put the Latics ahead but the Ivorian failed to convert a shot from six yards out after latching onto a cross from Jean Beausejour.

Sunderland entered the match at the Stadium of Light with an unwanted record of zero wins in the past 12 games. Despite the absence of captain Lee Cattermole following his red card earlier in the week against MK Dons, the Black Cats fans were given some good news with Adam Johnson being drafted into the starting line up for the first time since Sunderland signed him from Manchester City this year.

It was Wigan however who started off strongly and within 15 minutes had their first clear-cut chance of the match. Beausejour found space on the left-hand side of the pitch and fired in a low cross for Kone. Despite pressure from the Sunderland defence Kone found a yard of space but could only manage to direct his left-footed shot into Simon Mignolet, who would prove to be one of Sunderland's stand-out players over the course of 90 minutes.

Ten minutes later it was Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson who nearly put the home side ahead. The Swede whipped in one of his textbook free-kicks which landed just to the right of Ali Al-Habsi. It would have been 1-0 Sunderland had it not been for Ivan Ramis, who managed to clear the ball off the line and keep the score even.

The only other chance of the half fell to Wigan's James McCarthy, who picked the ball up 30 yards from Mignolet's goal and let fire. With the wind whipping round the stadium, it seemed to help the ball swerve away from goal and away from the goalkeeper who would have been beaten had it been on target.

While the first half had seen chances from both sides and a fairly even affair, Wigan were quick to make their lives difficult. Rose drove into the Latics half and was clattered by Gomez, who came into the challenge with his studs up. It was a no-brainer for Webb, who had only dished out one yellow card in the first-half.

Immediately Sunderland took advantage, when James McClean struck a hard, low cross along the six-yard box to find Fletcher at the back of the box who in turn managed to place it to the right of Al-Habsi.

For the remainder of the second-half Wigan were on the back foot and seemed unable to create any attacking momentum with so many players behind the ball. The introduction of Di-Santo had little affect, as did Ryo Miyaichi who failed to create any chances in his brief stint at the end of the match.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Steven Fletcher: Fletcher made sure Wigan paid for their red card and scored the decisive goal that gave Sunderland their first win in 13 Premier League games.

PLAYER RATINGS: SUNDERLAND: Mignolet 8; Gardner 7; Bramble 6; O'Shea 6; Rose 7; Colback 7; Johnson 7; Larsson 8; Sessegnon 8; McClean 8; Fletcher 9. SUB: Vaughan 5

WIGAN: Al Habsi 5; Boyce 5; Caldwell 6; Ramis 6; Figueroa 7; McArthur 6; Maloney 6; Beausejour 6; Gomez 4; Kone 6. SUBS: McManaman 5; Di Santo 5; Miyaichi 4.

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