SAFC v Wigan

Boss weighs up home win

by Stuart Vose

'Delighted' O'Neill savours three points.

Martin O’Neill hailed a vital win after Steven Fletcher scored the only goal of the home clash with Wigan.

Fletcher’s fifth strike of the season – a smart finish just after half-time - gave Sunderland their first league win of the campaign following four successive draws.

“I’m delighted with the result,” said O’Neill, whose side are one of only three who remain unbeaten in the Barclays Premier League.

“After [Steven] Fletcher scored I thought we might have been able to press on and get another goal but as time was getting on, it started getting a bit more edgy and the crowd were worrying about holding onto the win.

“But we hung on and got the win and that was so important for us today.”

The sides traded chances in the first half before Sunderland grabbed the initiative as Fletcher struck just after Wigan’s Jordi Gomez saw red for a challenge on Danny Rose.

The Black Cats could have increased their lead but met tough resistance as Latics’ ten men refused to give up with time ticking away.

“The first half was end-to-end stuff, but in the second after we got the goal I think it became a little bit more unsettled,” O’Neill reflected.

“We remain unbeaten but we had to fight for it. I think we can now improve on that and we’ll get confidence from this win.

“Winning is so important and getting those three points on the board means a lot, especially after the disappointment of conceding a goal so late last week.”

Meanwhile O’Neill gave goalscorer Fletcher a glowing report as the former Wolves man continued his deadly start to the campaign.

But he also highlighted another important contribution – that of Simon Mignolet, who denied James McCarthy in the opening few minutes before pulling off a miraculous point-blank save to shut out Arouna Kone.

“Fletcher did brilliantly today,” O’Neill said.
“His all-round play was magnificent, especially the way he brought people into the game. At the other end, Mignolet made two unbelievable saves for us at really important points."