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Wigan Athletic v Sunderland

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One night in Wigan

In 2005, 7500 Sunderland fans descended upon Wigan on a Tuesday night to cheer the Lads on to a victory that we all knew would be crucial if we were going to get promoted. Tonight, you could say, the stakes are just as high.

Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Wigan: Filan, Eaden, Jackson, Breckin, Baines, Teale (Jarrett 64), Kavanagh, Bullard, Mahon (Ormerod 45), Roberts, Ellington. Subs Not Used: Walsh, McMillan, Wright.

Sunderland: Myhre, Wright, Breen, Caldwell, McCartney (Danny Collins 73), Robinson, Lawrence, Whitehead, Arca, Brown, Stewart (Elliott 82). Subs Not Used: Deane, Thornton, Alnwick.


Rewind to April 2005. Looking to overcome their play off heartache from the season before, Sunderland were sat 5 points clear at the top of the Championship and fellow promotion hopefuls Wigan Athletic.

The Latics were displaced by Mick McCarthy’s side at the top of the table after the Black Cats had won 7 consecutive league games, and the two sides went head-to-head on a memorable evening in the first week of April.

Over 7500 members of the Red and White army made the midweek journey down the M6, occupying the full east stand in a then record crowd at the JJB Stadium.

The travelling fans created a wall of noise and both sides responded in the explosive opening minutes.

It was the home side who created the first opportunity of the evening - Nathan Ellington’s long ball forward was chased by Jason Roberts, but he went down under the challenge of Gary Breen, and the loose ball ran into the path of Gary Teale - but his effort was straight at Thomas Myhre.

Soccer - Coca-Cola Football League Championship - Wigan Athletic v Sunderland - JJB Stadium Photo by John Walton - PA Images via Getty Images

Sunderland’s response was immediate.

Dean Whitehead set Liam Lawrence down the right hand touchline, he was challenged by Alan Mahon and although the home side protested that the ball went out of play, there was no flag raised and Lawrence continued on,whipping a superb long range ball into the area.

Marcus Stewart had time to take a touch before slotting an expert finish past John Phelan in the Wigan net.

There were scenes of delirium in the away end, and the advantage was handed to Sunderland!

Despite pushing for an equaliser, Wigan were restricted all evening by Sunderland’s stubborn defence. The pairing of Steve Caldwell and Gary Breen kept Wigan’s strike duo at bay, sealing a massive three points.

The lads were in touching distance of the Premier League.

BOOM! Marcus Stewart sends 7,000+ #SAFC fans in the away end at Wigan Athletic into raptures after giving promotion pushing #SAFC an early lead at the JJB Stadium back in 2005. What a night - what are your memories of this game?

Posted by Sunderland AFC on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Mick McCarthy...

The goal happened right in front of me and I didn’t think it had gone out. I was screaming at Liam Lawrence to play on and he put over a fantastic ball which Marcus finished off.

The truth is Alan Mahon should not have stopped. You tell every schoolboy to play to the whistle. That is what I was taught as a kid.

Marcus Stewart...

It was a great feeling, we knew we had to come here and get some sort of result and put more pressure on them.

They needed to win the game I think to try and get back at us, but it didn’t work like that and now we’re 8 points clear and I think 2 or 3 wins away from promotion.

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