Sunderland AFC 2-1 Wigan Athletic
Dennis Cirkin starred as Sunderland came from behind to defeat Wigan Athletic at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Alex Pritchard and Patrick Roberts combined to devastating effect after the half-hour mark, but a contentious offside flag ruled out the winger’s well-taken finish.
Wigan edged in front on the stroke of half-time, as former Black Cat Charlie Wyke volleyed beyond Anthony Patterson from ten yards.
Elliot Embleton levelled eight minutes after the restart, applying a cool finish after excellent build-up play tore through the visiting backline.
Dennis Cirkin supplied the assist for the equaliser – and he was wheeling away himself with 72 minutes on the clock after sending the Lads into the lead.
Victory ensured the Black Cats moved up to ninth in the Sky Bet Championship table ahead of a trip to Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday.
Tony Mowbray was forced into one change at the Stadium of Light, with Cirkin replacing suspended skipper Corry Evans in the starting XI.
Four former Sunderland players were named in the Wigan Athletic line-up, as Max Power, James McClean, Nathan Broadhead and Wyke started on Wearside.
The Lads looked to have been dealt a blow with just 10 minutes on the clock, but Lynden Gooch dusted off an early injury and thundered into a tackle moments after rejoining the action.
Roberts thought he had opened the scoring after the half-hour mark, but an offside flag denied the winger after he finished with aplomb following an incisive through ball from Pritchard.
Despite ending the first 45 minutes on the front foot, the Black Cats fell behind on the stroke of half time when McClean picked out Wyke and the striker finished from inside the box.
Gooch was replaced at the interval after sustaining an earlier knock, with Amad coming off the bench to aid the Lads’ search for an equaliser.
The search didn’t last long, as Embleton rounded off a superb move involving Pritchard and Cirking to restore parity at the Stadium of Light.
Mowbray’s men continued to push forward in search of a second, with Clarke unable to round the ‘keeper moments after his knockdown was cleared.
Amad enjoyed his best outing in red and white, but Cirkin stole the headlines on his return and sealed three points for the Lads.
Pritchard once again played his part, whipping in an early free-kick to catch the visitors off-guard that was duly finished at the back post by the wing-back.
Will Keane headed over the top in the closing stages, as the Lads battled to a deserved three points on Wearside.
Sunderland AFC: Patterson, Batth, O’Nien, Alese, Gooch (Amad 45), Cirkin, Neil, Embleton (Wright 90), Pritchard, Clarke, Roberts.
Subs not used: Bass, Matete, Bennette, Dajaku, Michut.
Wigan Athletic: Amos, Kerr, Whatmough, Tilt (Aasgaard 77), Darikwa, Power, Naylor (Fletcher 81), McClean, Broadhead (Shinnie 81), Keane, Wyke (Magennis 68).
Subs not used: Jones, Bennett, Cousins.