Sunderland will be returning to Wembley for the fourth time in eight years after Patrick Robert’s late goal secured their place in the play off final.
Sunderland were coming into the game with a 1 goal advantage after Ross Stewart’s goal at the Stadium of Light. However, after a 3-0 defeat earlier in the season against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough nothing was for certain.
Over 33,000 packed the historic Hillsborough and Sunderland players were greeted to a roaring rendition of ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ moments before kick off. The game got under way and it was Wednesday that got off to the better start not creating many clear cut chances but dominating the first 20 minutes of the game with Sunderland’s Bailey Wright and Danny Batth seeing off the threat.
The 35th minute saw the first shot on target in the game as Wednesday’s George Byers brilliant overhead kick attempt was caught by Sunderland keeper Anthony Patterson. Wednesday ramped up the pressure and had 75% possession in the last 10 minutes of the first half but they couldn’t make it count as the half time whistle went.
Sunderland began the second half as the stronger side and a 50th minute well worked short corner routine nearly came off but Jack Clarke’s effort dragged wide. Sunderland’s dominance continued until the 66th minute when Wednesday’s second half sub Callum Patterson drove a cross across the box with the final touch coming off Sunderland Leyden Gooch with the ball going just wide of his own post.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 74th minute as Barry Bannan’s brilliantly weighted ball found Marvin Johnson who’s ball found Wednesday top scorer Lee Gregory who had a tap in to being the tie back to a level playing field. After the goal the game opened up and came chaotic but no clear cut chances as the fourth official signalled that there would be 10 minutes added on time.
Step up Patrick Roberts. A long ball was played up the left hand side and fell to Jack Clarke, who was thorn in Wednesday’s side all night, he beat his man to the byline and pulled a ball across the box to Roberts who put it through Wednesday keeper Bailey Peacock Farrell’s legs. The 2,000 travelling Sunderland fans and Manager Alex Neil erupted and the players were able to hang on to keep their season going.
Sunderland will meet Wycombe Wanderers at Wembley on May 21st for the chance to return to the championship, something that is long overdue.