Prior to kick off, it’s safe to say that the Wigan game was most certainly considered as a “must win” fixture in our bid for automatic promotion.
However, the lads’ were unsuccessful in their pursuit of victory in our previous league meeting against the Latics, losing the reverse fixture 1-0 at the Stadium Of Light - so we knew it wouldn’t be a cake-walk, particularly considering they’re fighting for their lives.
The last time these two sides met at the DW Stadium before tonight was for the Barclays Premier League fixture in 2013 - and it is fair to say that much has changed since that outing.
The hosts have struggled for form overall this campaign, failing to score at home on nine separate occasions - so, naturally, we all hoped for three points. It’s safe to say that the lads’ desperately needed a win to ensure that our automatic promotion push was still attainable.
Wigan had a couple of half-chances in the opening exchanges, as Johnston’s looping header was easily kept by Lee Burge and Will Keane’s effort simply lacked power.
From then on, we dominated possession and racked up our corner tally and eventually took the lead after half an hour. Aiden McGeady delivered a brilliant cross into Charlie Wyke, who ended his recent goal drought with a convincing finish from close range. Unfortunately, Wigan equalised on the stroke of half-time when Will Keane rifled home from close range following a corner from the left-side. That was all the action for the first half, with the sides heading in level at 1-1.
We had to improve.
It was a relatively quiet start to the second forty-five until the hosts found their second of the game. Some poor marking meant that Solomon-Otabor had the space to turn across goal to Lang, who converted from just a yard out.
This meant that the Lads had it all to do with thirty minutes remaining.
Will Keane had a big chance to kill the game off but he blazed his attempt wide from inside the box. Sunderland failed to really test Jamie Jones and this resulted in an incredibly disappointing 2-1 defeat at the DW Stadium.
From my perspective, this loss virtually puts an end to our bid for automatic promotion and confirms we’ll be partaking in the play-offs once again.
To say that I’m disheartened by the result is an understatement, especially considering the fact that promotion was in our hands just a couple of games prior to this. Defensive schoolboy errors, particularly from set plays, have cost us in conjunction with just too many draws earlier in the season.
Coming up is an incredibly challenging game away at Blackpool, who have been in tremendous form in 2021. They say nothing is guaranteed with Sunderland, but you can almost always expect the occasional slip-up - and that is what has cost us once again!