Steven Fletcher's first half double and some desperate second half defending proved enough for Sunderland to claim a 3-2 victory at Wigan.
Martin O'Neill's men looked to be cruising home at the break after they had replied to David Vaughan's early own goal with a Craig Gardner penalty followed by Fletcher's impressive one-two.
But after on-loan Manchester United man Angelo Henriquez netted with a far-post header 11 minutes from time, Sunderland needed to show plenty of defensive resolve to retain their advantage, sending Wigan sliding back into the relegation zone.
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