Martin O'Neill picked up his fourth win in six as Sunderland manager by overcoming Wigan at the DW Stadium this evening.
Sunderland punished the home side's misses just before the break when Gardner bulleted a 25-yard free kick into Ali Al-Habsi's top corner.
The lead was doubled when Al-Habsi saved James McClean's header only for the ball to loop back to McClean who, at the second time of asking, nodded in.
Hugo Rodallega marked his return to a regular starting place by pulling a goal back for the hosts with a deflected shot from the edge of the area.
Sessegnon restored the Black Cats' two-goal advantage by converting Bendtner's centre before Vaughan's speculative effort found the top corner to seal the win.
Sunderland move into the top half of the Premier League with the win while Roberto Martinez's men remain in the bottom three.