English Premiership

Sunderland end their woes

2011-04-23 20:14
Jordan Henderson (File)
Sunderland - England midfielder Jordan Henderson eased Sunderland's relegation fears as his double-strike inspired a 4-2 win over fellow strugglers Wigan on Saturday.

Henderson, 20, has been in poor form since earning his first England cap in a friendly against France in November, but he scored twice in the second half as the Black Cats came from behind to win for the first time in 10 league games and plunge Wigan back into the relegation zone.

Although Mohamed Diame put Wigan ahead early in the second half, Roberto Martinez's side crumbled after that.

Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan levelled with a close-range header and Sunderland took complete control despite losing Phil Bardsley, Danny Welbeck and Gyan through injury.

Henderson gave them a 66th-minute lead and he struck again after Stephane Sessegnon scored his first goal for the club from the penalty spot.

Black Cats boss Steve Bruce went into the game bemoaning the injury list he believes is the root cause of Sunderland's 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.

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.

Diame put Wigan ahead in the 52nd minute when he took Charles N'Zogbia's pass and smashed a 25-yard drive past Mignolet.

That lead lasted just three minutes as the Black Cats got themselves back into the game.

Steed Malbranque's cross was perfectly weighted for Gyan to rise and power home a close-range header.

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 Ali Al Habsi the wrong way to wrap up the win, although he was not finished for the afternoon.

Four minutes later, he 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.

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