Martin O'Neill's side hit four goals against a tepid Wigan side to seal three points for the Black Cats at a very cold DW Stadium.
Wigan’s first real chance of the game came in the 7th minute when Ronnie Stam’s superb delivery was headed away by Kilgallon before Gomez’ cheeky rebound shot was comfortably cleared thanks to a nice defensive effort from the Black Cats’ Simon Mignolet.
The home side was unlucky not to be in front after half hour when it hit the post twice in quick succession. An outstanding move from David Jones played on Ben Watson who drove a thunderous effort off the Sunderland post before Jones’ quick-thinking strike whizzed of the woodwork again.
The DW faithful had reasons to be concerned when Albert Crusat came off badly from a David Vaughn challenge. The striker looked to be in considerable pain and was replaced by Victor Moses not soon after
Sunderland's efforts paid off when Gardner buried the ball in the back of the Wigan net to break the deadlock for the Black Cats. Bendtner managed to win a free-kick in the dying moments of the first half before Gardner took advantage by placing an unstoppable strike past a helpless Al Habsi.
Sunderland came out for the second half full-energy and within minutes had notched its second goal of the night thanks to James McClean’s debut Barclays Premier League goal. McClean eagerly met a Vaughan cross before forcing an outstanding save from Al Habsi and heading it in on the follow-up to grab his side a comfortable cushion.
The Latics notched one back when a McCarthy pass found Rodallega, who confidently turned on the edge of the area before drilling a powerful low drive past Mignolet to keep his side in the game.
But Sunderland extended its lead with just over 15 minutes left, Bendtner’s frighteningly accurate ball to Sessegnon saw the striker tap it in to notch the Black Cats’ third goal of the evening.
David Vaughan stunned the home crowd minutes later when his thunderous kick almost broke the Wigan net. The Sunderland man picked up the ball well from a McClean effort to casually control the ball before for his massive left-corner belter saw Martin O’Neill’s side go 4 - 1 up and seal the three points.