WIGAN ATHLETIC 1 SUNDERLAND 4

Sunderland's David Vaughan celebrates his goal, which put his side 4-1 up against Wigan.

Sunderland's David Vaughan celebrates his goal, which put his side 4-1 up against Wigan.

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IN terms of achievement, Martin O’Neill ranked the win at Wigan above the New Year’s Day victory over leaders Manchester City.

The Sunderland manager was elated with the last-gasp victory over the mighty money-machine which got 2012 off to the best possible start.

Sunderland's James McClean celebrates his first goal for the club.

Sunderland's James McClean celebrates his first goal for the club.

But he reckoned that the way his weary warriors roused themselves for the challenge of last night’s wet and windy challenge at Wigan was an even greater feat.

“I thought it was the best result since I’ve arrived,” he said.

“Man City was a great win for us and to score in the last minute was unforgettable.

“But we had a day less to prepare for the Wigan game than our opponents did and the game itself came just two days after that tremendous effort against City.

“So to come to the DW Stadium just two days afterwards, with even more injured and struggling players, and to perform the way we did in those conditions, with the energy we did, it was terrific.

“I’ve got to say that the players were outstanding.”

Read Graeme Anderson’s full match report on a glorious night for Sunderland, plus reaction, in today’s Sportmail.