Cats rally to roll over Latics

The 20-year-old England midfielder went into the game with a

question mark hanging over him after a disappointing run of form.

However, he scored twice in the second half as the Black Cats came

from behind to win for the first time in 10 Premier League games

and plunge Wigan back into trouble. Mohamed Diame had given the

visitors hope of building upon last week’s 3-1 win at Blackpool,

which lifted them out of the relegation zone for the first time in

three months, when he blasted them in front seven minutes after the

break. However, Asamoah Gyan levelled with a close-range header

three minutes later and the Black Cats took complete control as

they visibly grew in confidence despite losing Phil Bardsley, Danny

Welbeck and, within nine minutes of his goal, Gyan through injury.

Henderson gave them a 66th-minute lead and after Stephane Sessegnon

has scored his first goal for the club from the penalty spot seven

minutes later, added a second to ease the home side home in front

of a crowd of 39,650. It was just what manager Steve Bruce, who

claimed a first win over his former club, needed in the 500th

league game of his managerial career, although it came at a cost

with Welbeck and Gyan joining Fraizer Campbell on the injured list.

Bruce went into the game bemoaning the injury list he believes is

the root cause of their recent slump. By the time the 26th minute

had elapsed, the casualty count had increased once again. Full-back

Bardsley was carried off the field on a stretcher having been given

oxygen and taken straight to hospital after an early clash of heads

with team-mate Nedum Onuoha. Anton Ferdinand took his place as

Bruce was forced to make an early substitution for the third

successive home game. But if there was no legislating for

Bardsley’s misfortune, Welbeck’s departure was depressingly

predictable with the striker having spent the last week battling a

hamstring problem before being declared fit to start. Welbeck has

scuffed a second-minute shot straight at keeper Ali Al Habsi and

Gyan headed wide from an Ahmed Elmohamady cross. The best chance of

the half went Wigan’s way when, with 31 minutes gone, Ben Watson

robbed Lee Cattermole deep inside the Sunderland half and the ball

ran to striker Hugo Rodallega. The Colombian thumped a rising shot

towards goal, where keeper Simon Mignolet, who endured a difficult

afternoon at Birmingham last weekend, made an important save.

Charles N’Zogbia, a long-time target for Bruce, saw a late drive

blocked after he cut inside from the right. Diame, who had scored

in the corresponding fixture last season, put Wigan ahead. The

midfielder accepted N’Zogbia’s pass and turned expertly past

Michael Turner before smashing a 25-yard drive past Mignolet. The

lead last just three minutes as the Black Cats got themselves back

into the game. Henderson took a short free-kick but when the ball

was eventually fed out to substitute Steed Malbranque on the right,

he cut inside before crossing. The Frenchman’s ball was perfectly

weighted for Gyan to rise and power home a close-range header. But

Gyan’s joy was shortlived as he left the field on a stretcher

within nine minutes having pulled up clutching his hamstring. The

resulting reshuffle saw Sessegnon pushed up front, but it was local

boy Henderson who fired his side in front for the first time when

he controlled substitute Sulley Muntari’s cross on his chest before

drilling a left-foot half-volley into the top corner. Sessegnon got

his big chance with 17 minutes remaining when he was barged to the

ground by defender Antolin Alcaraz inside the penalty area and

referee Lee Probert pointed to the spot. The Benin international

sent Al Habsi the wrong way to wrap up the win, although he was not

finished for the afternoon. Four minutes later, it was he who

picked out Henderson in space inside the box and the youngster

finished with aplomb once again. Substitute Franco di Santo’s

last-minute strike provided little consolation.