Bruce left to rue Wigan signings
DW Stadium, Wigan
Wigan welcomed former manager Steve Bruce back to the DW stadium today with last week`s 9- 1 debacle and the criticisms of some of Steve Bruce`s Wigan signings very much the talk of the town. Omn the day it was the two players Bruce stated he would be happy to take off Wigan's hands, who re-affirmed his opinion of their worth.
With this in mind it was probably hardly surprising that Martinez madeonly one change to the starting line up of a team that capitulated so completely in the second half against Spurs with Figueroa the only change to the starting line up, replacing Erik Edman at left back.
Edman didn`t even make the bench replaced by Amaya with Kapo also dropping from the bench to be replaced by Mc Carthy.
Both sides started tentatively with passes going astray and once again as on so many occasions the most dangerous player on the pitch was N`Zogbia who looked to cut in on goal at every opportunity.
Even so chances were few and far between with a midfield battle with Richardson and Thomas the key battle.
In the first half this was a battle Latics won with a resultant domination of possession but even so only two real chances, the first was a free kick from Rodellaga which took a deflection off Turner and Fulop was forced into a fingertip save.
The second was a shot from Scotland who was industrious all afternoon, N`Zogbia played a lovely ball through and the Trinidadian who was closely marked all afternoon found himself free with only the keeper to beat. Unfortunately the ball was just behind him and by swinging to shoot the ball went off at a slight angle and hit the post and Scotland`s goal drought continues.
Bruce switched things around at half time, bringing on Campbell for Malbranque and switching to 4-4-2 . This switch seemed to put the Black Cats in the ascendancy and with Richardson pressing onto a not fully fit Figueroa, Sunderland created several good chances which were squandered by the front two.
Sunderland also had a good shout for a penalty but Mr Atkinson who was well placed ruled that there wasn`t hand ball and waved play on.
The turning point was the tactical substitution of Scotland bringing on Gomez. This allowed Rodallega to revert to his natural striking role and N`Zogbia to move to his favoured right wing spot.
Wigan began to play with more purpose with the Colombian causing far more problems for the Sunderland back four with his obvious pace. With N`Zogbia playing a more than adequate supporting role Wigan pushed forward looking for a goal , which when it came had a somewhat fortunate beginning.
A Scharner hopeful ball was chased by Da Silva and Rodallega , the Paraguyan made a mess of the challenge and slipped allowing the Columbian through and he made no mistake slotting the ball past Fulop from a narrow angle.
Sunderland came back and with the Wigan defence still somewhat tentative after last weeks loss there were some close shaves with Bramble making some somewhat loss clearances.
Sunderland`s pressure allowed Wigan to break and N`ZXogbia was a revelation and was unlucky not top see his efforts result in a second gaol, with both Figueroa and Rodallega missing good chances.
The final whistle brought an enormous cheer of relief as Wigan`s topsy turvey season turned once again.