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Match Report: Sunderland 1-2 Wigan - Season & Bruce's Reign All But Over

Steve Bruce is an idiot, so here he is looking like one.
Steve Bruce is an idiot, so here he is looking like one.

In Ellis Short's programme notes he said performances were his current number one concern. As he watched form the Premier Concourse, perhaps in two minds as to whether Bruce should stay or go like a few of us were pre-match, his mind surely has to be made up now.

There's not much more to say really. I feel almost out of words to say, ways to sum up another weekend of turgid rubbish, so I'm just gonna get on with it...

So after all the debate during the week as to whether or not Ryan Noble should get the nod up front, he wasn't deemed ready for the first team, in fact nor was he even deemed deserving of a place on the bench. On a day where we needed a wildcard to throw in there, another midfielder was deemed much more suitable.

If we take ourselves back to the first half it's worth remembering that for a time we were alright, although that mainly came through Wigan's awfulness.

When Sebastian Larsson opened the scoring on seven minutes there was a sense that things might be on the up. Steve Bruce has had a history of pulling a result out of his backside when it's most needed, and this could be another game.

Nicklas Bendtner's curling effort was parried by Al-Habsi into the path of Richardson, his shot blocked but the Swede was on hand to curl left footed into the net. Bosh. Wallop. Everything's alright!

It could have been two. Richardson beating the offside in his new/old advanced position, but Al-Habsi was down well to save again. From the resulting corner, again it could have been two. Wes Brown met Sebastian Larsson's corner but his bullet of a header was saved once again.

The first half rumbled on with plenty of pressure on the Wigan goal. Bardsley fired wide, Stephane Sessegnon almost unplayable, but whatever we threw at Wigan it wasn't enough. We all giggled when Ronnie Stam sent a good chance out for a throw in, before our own Player Of The Year 2010/11 sent a ball into the North Stand Upper from all of seven yards when wide open. The plus side was it was nice work by Richardson to play him in.

Wigan however must have took some confidence from our profligacy, and eventually ventured out of their own half, and it paid dividends on the stroke of the half. Stam's whipped ball in was missed by everyone but found the impressive Victor Moses lurking on the far side. Moses marauded towards the box, and with nobody waiting in the middle, he slowed to allow Seb Larsson to get a faint touch on him. Down he goes, penalty given. Soft, but if was the other way round we'd have been screaming for it. Jordi Gomez sent Westwood the wrong way and the lads headed to the dressing room heads down and full of disappointment.

And that's when you need a manager to sort things out. Reassure them of the first 25 minutes which created to many chances, give them the kick up the Harris they need to come out firing... we were shown to be lacking.

Roberto Martinez must have managed it as Wigan came out much more positive in the second half, whilst we also tried a little to create something.

A strange half, which was seemingly end to end, however there wasn't much to test Westwood or Al-Habsi.

Bendtner, who was anonymous for large parts, fired wide, a few dangerous looking balls in by Sessegnon, O'Shea and Colback couldn't muster much by way of a test for the visitors. Perhaps the main one was Colback's drive which we appealed for in vain for a penalty, and it did seem to smash Diame in the arms, but they were tucked in, it was hitting his chest and almost point blank range. Little he could have done about it.

Changes were made as Bruce threw the dice. Colback to left-back whilst the first choice left-back remained up front, still only one striker on the pitch who rarely bothered entering the Wigan area.

There was really no chances until the dying embers of the game. Colback getting down the wing superbly to cross to Richardson who couldn't get enough on his front post header. That was to be it as far as were were concerned.

Ji Dong-Won entered the fray to play up front whilst further re-jigging saw our most dangerous crosser moved back to right-back, but in all honesty, plans, if there were any, were out the window. This was the last gamble of a desperate man. 

Time ticked on, the cries of "Bruce Out" grew louder and louder and in the haze of all this Wigan continued to look comfortable in defence whilst dangerous on the attack.

The moment of the game, and for the five or six seconds it took to happen, our season was summed up. The ball back to Westwood was terrible, he inexplicably lobbed it to Wes Brown who was robbed by James McArthur. A tap to substitute Franco Di Santo and an open goal tucked away.

You get three points when you take your chances, and Wigan took their only two of note. Try to remember that Steve and Co.

Team (Ratings in brackets)

Starting XI: Westwood (6); Bardsley (5), Turner (5), Brown (6), O'Shea (6); Larsson (6), Colback (7), Cattermole (5), Sessegnon (7), Richardson (6), Bendtner (5).

Subs Used: Vaughan (6), Gardner (6), Dong-Won (5).

Man Of The Match: Stephane Sessegnon - A hard one to pick. I suppose on a rotten day Sess provided one or two interesting moments when his skill beat Wigan all ends up but in all honesty not one player deserved it really from our side.

And that's that. I was sort of on the fence before this game, I wasn't a big Bruce fan, but now I'm firmly Bruce out. The man has sucked all life out of the club, and despite his post-match protestations that we need to stick together and turn things around, it shouldn't be allowed to happen. He's made his own position untenable.

Ellis has the call to make, because he's far too stubborn to do the honorable thing and resign. They say everything's bigger in Texas. Here's hoping Ellis has big enough balls to put things right, and there's only one way that can happen at the moment.

I normally like to sign off with "Ha'way The Lads" or "Keep The Faith" but bollocks to it this week...

Bruce Out.

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