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Sunderland v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship

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Two Up, Two Down: What are the biggest positives & negatives from Sunderland 2-1 Wigan?

Despite falling behind to a Charlie Wyke goal, the Lads rallied in the second half, eventually winning 2-1. What did our panel make of the game?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

Fighting back from a goal down

It was against the run of play when Charlie Wyke scored, but he took the chance well,

However, our ability to come back from a losing position against a side who were time-wasting at 0-0 is great to see at the Stadium of Light.

The future looks bright!

If we can play like that and get the odd win when we have no real front men, when we get Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms back, we are going to have something to behold.

Yes, we have lost a couple, but we have found a way to win, and that is a quality you can struggle to ascertain for many a season. I can’t wait for when we have our strikers contributing, which is getting closer with every game.

An honourable mention goes to Dennis Cirkin, as well. He was a great asset to have back, and his header was immense. Welcome back!

The right back position

For most of the first half, we struggled to defend the right back position.

Lynden Gooch isn’t a natural in that role, but we were exposed time and again, and if he hadn’t come off, I honestly think we would have lost that game.

Should Trai Hume come in now? I think so.

Greater rewards were deserved

Patrick Roberts and others deserved more for their effort on Saturday.

He made his markers look like mugs and deserved a goal but didn’t get one. Again, good signs for later but it was a shame he didn’t get a reward as he had his man on toast.

A great run out, and I can’t wait to see what he can do when we have strikers on the park. He’s a special player, and he’s just getting back into his stride. Well played!

Sunderland v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Andrew Smithson says…

Quality players…

When they get going, there’s some real quality in the side.

The players work hard, of course, but we’ve got more than that - there is some real football intelligence and ability, and it is great to watch.

It can be hard to pick out individuals after such a good team display, but those players can be very pleased with how they did. Considering how bad we were at this level last time, we’ve come a long way.

...and quality goals

I’ve yet to see the replays, but in real time, it looked like Sunderland scored two fantastic goals.

There were times when we had the ball on the deck and looked very good, and the first goal was all about shifting it quickly and movement from the players. The second was a bit more direct but just as enjoyable- it came about via a bit of quick thinking and a peach of a cross, and was one of those wonderful moments where you could see what was about to happen.

I happened to catch Dennis Cirkin starting his run out of the corner of my eye and he finished it emphatically for his first senior strike.

Conceding against the run of play

Wigan’s goal seemed to come from nowhere, and coming just before half-time, it seemed like a bit of a kick in the teeth.

I don’t think the Lads deserved to be behind, but without Corry Evans I was worried about the reaction and could see the Latics’ impressive away record continuing.

To be fair, Sunderland did come out after the break and seemed on it straight away, but hopefully conceding against the run of play doesn’t become too common.

Shocking refereeing... again

There was something about the game that saw me lose the plot a bit.

The fact that it tense at times didn’t help, but I found myself getting into it even more than usual and spent half the time out of my chair screaming and shouting. Unsurprisingly a lot of it was directed at the officials.

I’ll leave some of the others to comment on them, as the standard is a regular gripe of mine anyway, but I’ve come away with a thumping headache and a very sore throat. I’m clearly getting too old for all this, but at least it was worth it, because you cannot beat watching the Lads win!

Sunderland v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Rich Speight says...

Changes from Tony Mowbray to affect the game

There have been a few rumbles of disquiet in the last couple of weeks, but the gaffer demonstrated all of his experience in this division by making a bold move at half time, bringing on Amad and changing the system.

I can’t wait for Tuesday, and it will be interesting to see what kind of side lines up at Ewood Park. Bravo Mogga!

No strikers, two goals!

We found a way to score, using all of our creativity and youthful exuberance to ensure that we made enough opportunities to get the goals and three vital points at home.

We’ve needed the defenders to start chipping in with goals, and with Dennis Cirkin back, that’s exactly what happened. Elliot Embleton’s first of the season will do his confidence the world of good, especially after some of the hot takes that have been flying about on the socials recently.

Inconsistent refereeing

Everyone accepts that referees are human, and there’s far too much abuse of them at all levels in football these days. But fans and players expect two things - consistency and protection of the skilful players.

Neither was on show on Saturday, and the yellow card for Anthony Patterson for ‘time wasting’ was surely ironic, given our opponents’ antics. The referees at this level are full-time paid professionals, but maybe the overall drop in numbers across England is starting to impact the pool available at the top levels of the game.

Boring booers

Seriously, did you have nothing better to do than boo every touch that James McClean took? Everyone gets it: you disapprove of his Irish nationalist politics, but at times it sounded very much like abusing our former winger was the only thing certain sections of the crowd had in their minds.

Sunderland v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Kyle Garrett says...

Alex Pritchard’s performance

Pritchard has been a bit off the pace in the last few weeks, but he ran the show on Saturday, by picking up loose balls and being a thorn in Wigan’s side.

The ball he put in for Dennis Cirkin was on a plate and he was hugely influential as we picked up three points.

We stuck at it

This was a different type of win than others from this season.

We did struggle in the first half, but some of the football we played was still very good. Wigan tried to disrupt us but ultimately, it was our day.

A former player scoring!

It always happens, doesn’t it?

This time there were three ex-Sunderland players involved in what was, in fairness, a good goal.

How many people had a tenner on Charlie Wyke to score first?

Sadly, I wasn’t there!

Selfishly, I’m frustrated that I wasn’t at the game. That’s now four home games in a row I’ve missed - not good enough!

Michael Dunne says...

Our second half response

Tony Mowbray’s change in approach and tactics worked wonders- he got them going and the second half was one of the best we have had so far this season.

The Lads played with intensity and aggression, it was what you want to see, and it epitomised what a Mowbray team might be able to do.

Patrick Roberts

He was brilliant all game.

He has such good technical ability and is a real attacking threat. I felt he was our best player all game, he gave James McClean a torrid time throughout, and the more games he plays, the better he will be.

The fact that Mowbray loves him ensures he will get chances.

Sunderland’s first forty five

We were so poor in the first half.

The lack of a striker and the lethargy throughout the team was killing us. I thought Amad’s introduction changed things and we brought more intensity to our play, but we can’t afford to start slow, as other teams may punish us more than Wigan.

Lynden Gooch departing early

I am hoping that Gooch’s substitution was a tactical one and not enforced, as we cannot afford any more injuries right now.

Sunderland v Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images


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