SAFC v Wigan

Game of the Day: SAFC 2 Wigan 0

by Kate Smith

Etuhu and Murphy on target.

Sunderland 2 Wigan 0 

9th February 2008

Sunderland had to rely on lady luck against a tough Wigan side who were looking for their third win of the season over Sunderland back in February 2008.

Steve Bruce's Wigan had convincingly beaten Roy Keane's side - knocking them out of the FA Cup - with a 3-0 win at the Stadium of Light weeks earlier.

However, lightning was not going to strike twice and Dickson Etuhu set Sunderland on their way just before half-time, heading home Dean Whitehead's cross past goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.

It was the midfielder's only goal in a red and white shirt and came in his first game back from the African Nations Cup.

The game came alive in the second period, with plenty of end-to-end action after a lifeless opening 45 minutes.

Whitehead made a good clearance to save Sunderland in the 46th minute and moments later Kevin Kilbane, returning to his old stomping ground, hit the inside of the post as Sunderland froze after the break.

Craig Gordon was called into action on a number of occasions to make a string of good saves to further frustrate Bruce's side.

The Black Cats eventually clawed their way back into it, as striker Daryl Murphy scored a contender for goal of the season.

The Irishman turned on the style in the 75th minute, smashing an unstoppable left-foot shot into the top corner from outside the box.

Debutant Andy Reid, who had been on the pitch less than a minute, picked out Murphy with a great cross-field pass to set up the stunning strike, leaving Kirkland helpless.

The goal sealed a big win for Sunderland, their fourth in a row at home in the Barclays Premier League and lifted them to 14th place in the table, four points above the relegation zone.

Sunderland: Gordon, Bardsley, Nosworthy, Evans, Collins, O'Donovan (Prica, 26), Etuhu (Leadbitter, 84), Whitehead, Murphy, Jones, Chopra (Reid, 74).

Subs Not Used: Fulop, McShane.