Sunderland AFC 2-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Sunderland are in the Championship.
The four-year spell in Sky Bet League One is over for the Lads, who have secured promotion to the second tier with a 2-0 Wembley Stadium win over Wycombe Wanderers.
Elliot Embleton and Ross Stewart struck in either half for Alex Neil’s side to get the job done, as over 46,000 Sunderland fans basked in the glory in the London sun, after a season of incredible, avid support.
Head Coach Neil made one change to his starting XI from the semi-final second leg at Sheffield Wednesday, as Embleton came in for Jack Clarke with a formation change to a 4-2-3-1 setup.
The Lads started on the front foot and won a free-kick 25 yards from goal in the opening three minutes, which Alex Pritchard was unlucky to see skim the side netting.
Stewart then narrowly missed Embleton’s delivery into the area, before the man fresh into the starting line-up opened the scoring.
Sunderland’s retention of possession saw Corry Evans and Luke O’Nien combine to set Embleton soaring up the centre of the pitch, where some neat footwork then created space to take aim from distance.
His shot was unsighted by David Stockdale, as it flew into the net off the goalkeeper’s arm to delirium in the West end of Wembley.
Despite Wycombe growing more into proceedings following the goal, the Lads still maintained the better of the goalmouth action, Pritchard and Stewart both forcing Stockdale into smart saves.
As half-time came and went with the Black Cats holding a slender advantage, Wycombe turned it up a level to start the second half and won a succession of set-pieces which were well defended.
The biggest chance for Wycombe came just before the hour mark, as a misjudgement of a bounce from Bailey Wright let Sam Vokes in behind, Anthony Patterson doing well to trap the shot with his legs.
The tide then turned again after the introduction of Clarke, as his delivery aiming for Stewart was just cut out by the Wycombe defence. This came moments after Patrick Roberts had a case for a penalty, as he became entangled with both Anthony Stewart and Joe Jacobson – the referee and VAR both not interested in the appeals.
Wycombe’s three changes were wrung by Gareth Ainsworth between the 55th and 75th minutes, Adebayo Akinfenwa entering the fray for his final career appearance for the injured Dominic Gape.
Brandon Hanlan was also a second-half replacement, and he got in behind down the left-hand side with yards of space, but saw his tame shot kept out routinely by Patterson.
And then came the killer blow. A lovely interchange between Roberts and Pritchard saw the latter play it to Stewart 18 yards from goal, and he guided a shot past Stockdale with aplomb to crucially double Sunderland’s lead, in front of a rapturous Mackem crowd.
With the main task from then on to tighten up at the back, Sunderland played largely on the break and saw both Stewart and Roberts steer shots wide – Josh Scowen’s shot deflecting wide at the other end, before Evans made a great block to deny Garath McCleary.
Patterson and the back line swept up excellently to secure the clean sheet, with Stockdale denying Clarke a third right at the end.
But 2-0 it finished, and the Lads are going up. Til the End; Just the Start.
SUNDERLAND AFC: Patterson; Gooch, Batth, Wright, Cirkin; Evans ©, O’Nien; Roberts, Pritchard (Doyle 80’), Embleton (Clarke 60’); Stewart (Broadhead 88’).
Subs not used: Hoffmann, Neil, Matete, McGeady.
Wycombe Wanderers: Stockdale; McCarthy, Stewart, Tafazolli, Jacobson; Gape (Akinfenwa 75’) Scowen; McCleary, Horgan (Wing 55’), Obita (Hanlan 65’); Vokes.
Subs not used: Dickinson, Forino, Grimmer, Wheeler.