Sunderland 0-1 Wigan Athletic: Latics stun Black Cats in Lee Johnson's first game
(Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images)

League One's bottom club Wigan Athletic ensured that new head coach Lee Johnson had a nightmare start to his Sunderland career after The Latics took all three points in a shock 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light.

Wigan took the lead on 16 minutes when 19-year-old Kyle Joseph held off pressure from Bailey Wright and slammed the ball low and hard past a helpless Lee Burge in the Sunderland goal.

Despite Sunderland dominating the majority of the game and having copious amounts of chances in the final third, Wigan defended inspirationally to cap off undoubtedly their best win of the season.

New Black Cats boss Johnson, who had only signed his contract this morning, was whisked into the dugout and named fan's favourite Aiden McGeady in his first Sunderland starting line-up after his readmission into the squad just a few days ago.

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Story of the game

The opening exchanges of the game were cautious, with chances at a premium. It took nine minutes to muster for either side to muster an attempt, with Max Power's wide of the mark header being the first real half-chance of the match.

Lee Johnson had clearly briefed his Sunderland players to bombard the 18-yard area with crosses, with the right-hand side pair of Connor McLaughlin and Chris Maguire being the main instigators in the early motions of the game.

Despite Sunderland being slighly the better side, it was League One's bottom club Wigan who took the lead on 16 minutes. Thelo Aalsgaard broke with the ball - and courtesy to some questionable Sunderland passing - it fell to Kyle Joseph who held off Bailey Wright and struck low and hard past Lee Burge in The Black Cats net.

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Just five minutes later, Sunderland had a good chance to pull level when Grant Leadbitter picked his head up and slotted through Aiden McGeady with an inch-perfect through ball on the left-hand side. The Irishman's effort from midway inside the box, however, hit the side netting.

Sunderland continued to knock on the door after going behind and McGeady was at the heart of the attack again. This time his cross towards Will Grigg was headed away by the so far stalwart Wigan backline, but only as far as Maguire, who struck on the half-volley, but The Latics were able to get bodies in front of the effort to block the shot away from goal.

The Black Cats have recently been plagued with injury, and had another one of their players heading for the treatment table on the 32nd minute when Denver Hume was forced off with a hamstring injury.

Sunderland's best and final chance of the opening 45 minutes came from a brilliant, mazy run by Maguire which saw him work his way into the box by dribbling past multiple Wigan players. He managed to get a shot off, but it skyrocketed over the crossbar to cap off a frustrating half in front of goal for the hosts.

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The last chance of the half went to Wigan after McGeady's misplaced pass was pounced on by Joseph, who looked to send Kal Naismith in on goal. Naismith tumbled to the ground after going shoulder-to-shoulder with Wright, but the referee deemed that there was not enough contact to award The Latics with a penalty.

Sunderland continued to push, but no goals arrived

A good combination between Power and substitute Callum McFadzean down the left-hand side saw Sunderland be able to cross the ball towards Grigg, but the attempted ball into the box was straight at Jones in the Wigan goal.

Jones this time was forced into an outstanding save to deny Scowen's free header on from six-yards out on 61 minutes which was created by a high-cross from Power.

Naismith had picked up an injury on the 50 minute mark and tried to play on despite receiving treatment. Eventually, he had to be replaced by Oli Crankshaw who almost immediately found immediately through on goal from a Joseph pass, but Burge was out of his goal quickly to lash the ball away to safety.

Sunderland continued to pepper the Wigan goal, and courtesy of a scramble in the box, the ball fell out to McLaughlin, but his effort was shanked well wide of the goal.

McGeady was bright on the ball on his return to the Sunderland squad, and was able to find some space to unleash a looping effort that stung the gloves of Jones who done well to tip the ball out for a corner.

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The Black Cats huffed and puffed in the final 10 minutes of the game, but their weakness of scoring goals was on show again this afternoon, with a chance in particular from Scowen going wide of the goal.

Wigan hung on to claim an outstanding three points on the road, a win that sees them edge closer to moving off the foot of the League One table.

The Black Cats drop to ninth with defeat this afternoon, and it is evident that head coach Lee Johnson has a lot of work to do if he wants to get this Sunderland squad competing for promotion.

Takeaways

The start of a new era, but it was the same old Sunderland this afternoon

A new sporting director and a brand spanking new head coach in Lee Johnson arrived on Wearside this week marked what some Sunderland fans called 'a new era', but Sunderland fell back into old habits with another home defeat today.

Johnson was expected to watch his new club from the stands, but was keen to get to work straight away, and probably thought getting three points over bottom of the league Wigan was a simple enough task.

But it was not the case for Johnson, and today no doubt will have been a real eye-opener for the 39 year-old.

Sunderland looked nervous on the ball and the change of formation from their usual five-at-the-back certainly hindered them - evident with their poor crosses and no direct balls to their striker throughout.

Lee Johnson will get this squad firing, there is no doubt about that, but today came too soon for the new man in charge.

A united performance by Wigan

Wigan Athletic are a club that are seemingly in turmoil off the pitch, but on it, there was unity and togetherness in abundance.

They took their chance, their only chance of the game that was, and defended emphatically to seal a huge victory - their first in 13 games, against all odds.

You could see what it meant to everyone involved at The Tics at full time, as their screams of joy were heard clearly throughout an empty Stadium of Light.

With Wigan now only five points from safety, this result may just be the turning point in their season.

Starting XI's

Sunderland: Burge; McLaughlin, Flanagan, Wright, Hume; Scowen, Leadbitter, Power; Maguire, Grigg, McGeady. (4-3-3)

Wigan Athletic: Jones; James, Tilt, Long, Pearce; Perry, Evans; Gardner, Naismith, Aasgaard; Joseph. (4-2-3-1)

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