Sunderland legend warns play-off semi-final is “nowhere near over”

The Black Cats still have work to do according to one former Stadium of Light favourite

<p>Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday played out a tense first leg</p>

Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday played out a tense first leg

Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips has warned his former club their League One play-off semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday is “nowhere near over”.

The Black Cats put in a performance full of effort and enthusiasm as they edged a 1-0 first-leg win against the Owls in front of a record crowd at the Stadium of Light.

Top goalscorer Ross Stewart was the difference between the two sides as he took advantage of a defensive error from Owls centre-back Sam Hutchinson to put Alex Neil’s side in front just before half-time.

Stewart could and should have doubled the lead midway through the second-half but it was the visitors that ended the game on the front foot.

Sunderland showed their resilient side to ensure they will take a slender advantage into Monday night’s second leg.

However, Phillips saw enough from Wednesday to suggest that they will remain a significant threat to the Black Cats hopes of securing a place at Wembley and keeping alive their hopes of promotion back into the Championship.

He told Sky Sports: “You always want to win your home game and take a lead into the second leg.

“They will be satisfied but, of course, they would have liked another goal.

“I would have loved them to have gone to Hillsborough with a cushion of two goals.

“I thought Sunderland came out in the second-half, and whatever Alex Neil said to them, got them going again.

“The first 10 to 15 minutes, they dominated, and if they took their chances it could have been two or three.

“You want to take a lead, but this game is nowhere near over.

“You saw what Sheffield Wednesday have got in the last 25 to 30 minutes.

“They were the better team and Sunderland showed why, defensive, since this guy (Alex Neil) has come in, they have been excellent and they’ve had to put in another fine defensive display in the last half-hour.

“They’ll need that again on Monday night.”