SUNDERLAND 4 WIGAN ATHLETIC 2

Stephane Sessegnon in front of Sunderland fans after his penalty spot goal against Wigan Athletic. Picture by FRANK REID
Stephane Sessegnon in front of Sunderland fans after his penalty spot goal against Wigan Athletic. Picture by FRANK REID
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STEVE Bruce gratefully accepted a fan’s offer of a four-leafed clover as he made his way into the Stadium of Light on Saturday. He needed all the luck he could get.

No doubt across the Stadium of Light thousands more hoping to see Sunderland win had gone through their pre-match rituals; worn their lucky charms.

Things had got so bad over a truly miserable run of eight defeats and one draw for the Wearsiders that this reporter even dispensed with the usual objectivity to dust off his lucky shiny shoes from the back of the wardrobe.

In the end, though, it was neither fancy footwear not four-leafed foliage that won the game for Sunderland, it was the sheer determination of a side which refused to let setback after setback deflect them from a bloody-minded will to win.

There were so many good things about this game for Sunderland players – Asamoah Gyan scoring his first goal in seven matches, his 11th of the season, January signings Stephane Sessegnon and Sulley Muntari having comfortably their best games so far and tigerish Jack Colback continuing his valuable progress.

But two individuals stood head and shoulders above the rest – Lee Cattermole and Jordan Henderson.

The former provided the perspiration, the latter the inspiration from which this game was won.

Read Graeme Anderson’s full match report in today’s Echo.