Wigan Athletic 1 Sunderland 4: Black Cats claim fourth win in six games under Martin O’Neill

Sunderland's David Vaughan celebrates his goal at Wigan.
Sunderland's David Vaughan celebrates his goal at Wigan.
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Injury-hit Sunderland earned their first Barclays Premier League victory at the DW Stadium to ensure Martin O'Neill's golden start to life at the Black Cats continued.

Wigan edged the first half and saw one shot cleared off the line and two hit the woodwork but they went into the break behind as Craig Gardner took advantage of the swirling wind to power a 30-yard free-kick into the top corner.

Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon scores during the Barclays Premier League match at the DW stadium, Wigan. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 3, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Wigan. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon scores during the Barclays Premier League match at the DW stadium, Wigan. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 3, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Wigan. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

James McClean extended the lead with his first Sunderland goal and, although Hugo Rodallega briefly gave Wigan hope with his first of the season, Sunderland sealed the points through Stephane Sessegnon and David Vaughan.

The hosts looked confident in the early stages, with Rodallega twice going close while Steve Gohouri's shot beat Simon Mignolet before being cleared virtually off the goal-line by Gardner.

Sunderland, fresh from beating Manchester City on Sunday, threatened mostly on the break and Sessegnon was denied by a timely block from Antolin Alcaraz before Nicklas Bendtner just failed to get enough on a lovely cross from McClean.

Wigan still looked the more likely scorers, though, and in the 31st minute they were left cursing their luck after hitting the post twice in a matter of seconds - David Jones and Ben Watson the unlucky men.

Sunderland's David Vaughan (bottom) celebrates his goal with David Meyler (top) during the Barclays Premier League match at the DW stadium, Wigan. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 3, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Wigan. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

Sunderland's David Vaughan (bottom) celebrates his goal with David Meyler (top) during the Barclays Premier League match at the DW stadium, Wigan. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 3, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Wigan. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.

With injury time almost up, Bendtner won what looked a generous free kick and Gardner took full advantage with a sublime drive past the Wigan and into the top corner.

Things got even better for the visitors in the 55th minute when they doubled their lead.

Vaughan picked out 22-year-old McClean, just onside in the middle of the box, and, although Al Habsi produced a good save from his first header, the goalkeeper could do nothing about the follow-up.

It was a first senior goal for McClean on his fifth appearance and made it nine different scorers for the nine goals netted under O'Neill.

Wigan hit back seven minutes later as Rodallega's shot from the edge of the box was defelected on its way past Mignolet .

Wigan's hopes of taking something disappeared in the 73rd minute when Bendtner got away from Figueroa down the right and crossed low for Sessegnon to convert.

Watson shot just wide and Al Habsi backpedalled to push a lob from McClean over the bar.

Sunderland sealed it with 10 minutes to go a Sessegnon shot hit Alcaraz and rebounded to Vaughan 20 yards out who blasted a strike of the highest quality into the top corner.

Sunderland climb into the top half of the Barclays Premier League going into the weekend’s FA Cup third round trip to Peterborough.