Leam Richardson reacts to Wigan Athletic's opening-day defeat at Sunderland

Leam Richardson conceded Sunderland were 'very worthy winners' after taking advantage of an early penalty decision that 'changes the game'.
Leam Richardson saw his Latics side get off to a losing start to the season at SunderlandLeam Richardson saw his Latics side get off to a losing start to the season at Sunderland
Leam Richardson saw his Latics side get off to a losing start to the season at Sunderland

Latics started well at the Stadium of Light and led through Gwion Edwards' rebound, after Will Keane had hit a post, on 16 minutes.

But barely a minute later, Tendayi Darikwa - Latics' new skipper - was penalised for bringing down Ross Stewart in the box.

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Aiden McGeady sent Ben Amos - preferred to Jamie Jones - the wrong way, and the home side never looked back.

Stewart headed them in front eight minutes after the restart, and it could easily have been worse for Latics had Lynden Gooch's shot not struck the stanchion in the final quarter.

"We battled well, we started the game well, I thought we imposed ourselves quickly on the game," assessed Richardson.

"We were worthy of going in front, and then obviously the penalty changes the game.

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"And I don't think we ever really recovered from that disappointment.

"Whether it was a penalty or not - and I've been told it's not, which is disappointing if so - it gave them momentum from nowhere.

"And once they had that momentum, they built on it, and I thought they were very worthy winners in the end."

With nine players making their debuts - including ex-Sunderland man Max Power, for a second time - Latics understandably looked disjointed for long spells of the game.

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"I think you could see they've come together as a group relatively recently," acknowledged Richardson.

"Everyone knows we're a football club that is building slowly, and I think you could see that today.

"We'll continue to work really hard to get to where we want to be."

Richardson also praised the supporters of both sides as 2,000 Latics fans made the trip to be part of a 31,000-plus crowd.

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“I thought it was fantastic," he said. "Wigan, Sunderland, first game of the season in League One.

"I don’t think people ever thought that would happen with 30 odd thousand fans. It was a fantastic home support and a fantastic travelling away support as well.

"It's disappointing we fell on the wrong side of the result, but we're so appreciative of the fans' time, and it’s not cheap nowadays to bring your children to football and travel around the country, so I think it’s great to have them back."

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