Massive result - Gardner

by Kate Smith

Midfielder delighted to get win for fans.

Sunderland’s man on the spot Craig Gardner was thrilled to get on the score sheet as the Black Cats notched back-to-back league victories following the 3-2 win at Wigan. 

The fans are unbelievable. I’d like to give a big shout out to them because they’re there for us week in week out.

- Craig Gardner

Roberto Martinez’s side snatched an early lead at the DW Stadium after Ronnie Stam’s fifth minute shot took a deflection before crossing the line.

Gardner pulled the visitors level from the penalty spot 12 minutes later to kick start Sunderland’s comeback.

“We didn’t have the best of starts,” Gardner conceded, “but I thought we responded well and kept our composure.

“We were awarded the penalty after the handball and it was nice to get the decision as I think we’re the only club that hasn’t had one this season.”

The midfielder sent Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi the wrong way and planted his spot kick in the bottom corner to give him his fifth goal of the season and make him second top scorer at the club, behind Steven Fletcher.

Although Gardner enjoyed grabbing his second strike in four games, he’s more than happy for the goals to be shared around if it means Sunderland get the result.

“I was happy to get on the score sheet.” Gardner added. “Then it was made sweeter after [Steven] Fletcher went on and did it himself.

“I’ve been on penalties since the beginning of the season, but we’ve just never had one to take.

“It’s nice to get a penalty, but I told Fletch if we got another one I’d let him have it as he was on for a hat-trick.

“Throughout the second half Wigan threw everything at us and we were away from home so we had our backs to the wall for a lot of the time – but we held on and got the three points.

“It’s a massive result for us.”

Gardner also paid tribute to the 5,000 fans who braved the elements to make the trip to Lancashire and cheer on Sunderland:

“The fans are unbelievable. I’d like to give a big shout out to them because they’re there for us week in week out.

“After getting beat by Bolton at home last week it was disappointing for them and us and to get a result today is our way of thanking them for coming.

“It’s important they stick with us as we look to push up the table.”