Steve Bruce has bleated so much about injuries that some of us have tired of just one more excuse. Today, he had reason to raise his eyes to the heavens and ask whether someone up there has it in for him: three injuries that might have knocked the stuffing out of any team. Ours responded magnificently and ran out clear winners to make it extremely unlikely that we’ll be worried about relegation come the last week or two of the season …
It looked bad when Phil Bardsley, a strong candidate for the player of a flat season, was carried off on a stretcher. It got worse when Danny Welbeck suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury, raising questions about how quickly he had been brought back after the last one.
Then Wigan scored. A goal from nowhere but leaving us fearing the worst.
Luckily, by the time Asamoah Gyan did his hamstring too, he’d equalised.
And what happened next was the stuff of dreams.
A wonderful goal from Jordan Henderson, a penalty from Stéphane Sessegnon after he was barged over in the box and then a clinical finish from Henderson again made us extremely comfortable winners – albeit without a proper striker on the pitch and maybe without one for the rest of the season – after all the earlier jitters.
We allowed Wigan to claw one back towards the end of normal time, but Bruce’s men deserve enormous credit for battling against serious adversity to record their first win in 10 games. The second-half performance, after the Wigan goal threatened to prolong the awful run, was worthy of a two-goal margin of victory.
Lots of plaudits, then, including one for a SAFC press officer, Lee Marshall, who told BBC Radio Newcastle’s Nick Barnes before the match that it would end up Sunderland 4 Wigan 2. Wonder what odds he got for that from the bookies.