Wigan Athletic 1 Sunderland 0

Last updated : 27 August 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Something had to give in the battle between the Premiership's bottom two at the JJB stadium with both teams desperate to register their
first win.

And it did - after just 12 seconds. The penalty awarded by ref Steve Bennett made it a dream start for Wigan and proved enough to win the game - but it was an absolute nightmare for Sunderland skipper Gary Breen.

Straight from the kick-off, Latics' midfielder Jimmy Bullard was forced under pressure to boot the ball deep into the Black cats' area.

There appeared to be no hint of trouble - keeper Kelvin Davis had it covered all the way. Or he would have done had he been given the chance.

Instead Breen decided to do it his way and attempted to head clear, but it was a poor decision and even poorer effort and one that Jason Roberts - operating alone up front - did not allow to go unpunished.

He swooped on it instantly and Breen, desperately trying to redeem the situation, simply succeeded in sending him tumbling to the ground.

Ref Bennett had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Roberts took the opportunity to write himself in the Wigan history books - as the scorer of the club's first goal in the Premiership.

The Grenada international coolly hesitated on the run-up before slotting the ball into the keeper's right-hand corner and well out of reach.

The setback spurred Sunderland into action and twice Swiss defender Stephane Henchoz rescued Wigan - blocking one shot from Jon Stead and then clearing off the line from the former Blackburn striker.

Stead went agonisingly close to snatching an equaliser on 21 minutes after Andy Welsh set up the chance, but outstanding keeper Mike Pollitt tipped the shot round the post.

Pollitt, snapped up from Rotherham for a bargain £200,000, did it again to keep out a strike from Dean Whitehead.

But Wigan continued to create chances - Leighton Baines setting one up with a teasing cross from the left which adventurous right-back Pascal Chimbonda headed just over the bar.

Davis had to be alert when Graham Kavanagh -back in the side for his first appearance of the season after injury -let fly from 25 yards.

But at the other end, Pollitt - standing in for injured first choice John Filan - was still earning his money, keeping out another from Stead before Sunderland opted to replace him with Andy Gray up front.

Goal hero Roberts hammered one over the bar and tested Davis as Wigan tried to find the killer goal while Sunderland battled desperately to come up with an equaliser.

Andy Gray did get the ball in the Wigan net but it didn't count - he was clearly offside.

And in the 90th minute Sunderland were saved by the woodwork when sub Alan Mahon's shot took a deflection off Breen and hit the bar.

Man of match: Mike Pollitt - Another inspiring and faultless performance from the keeper who is still pinching himself because he's playing in t Premiership.