Aiden McGeady has been a force for Sunderland but had to settle for a runners-up medal despite his Checkatrade Trophy final brilliance.
The winger scored a brilliant free-kick seven minutes before the break to give Sunderland a deserved lead before the Black Cats were pegged back by Kenny Jackett’s side.
Sunderland had to rely on McGeady to dig them out of a hole, the winger sending the tie to a penalty shoot-out right at the death of extra-time.
His quality was ultimately in vain, with Sunderland losing 5-4 on spot-kicks to promotion rivals Portsmouth.
McGeady won praise from his manager for his impact at Wembley.
Jack Ross said: “He is an outstanding footballer who, I think I’ve said, people just assume that he will dominate every game because he’s so talented.
“But he needs to have the application and desire to do that, and he has done that time after time this season.
“He’s showed that again.
“The soreness that players fell is the equivalent for a player who is at the start of his career and trying to get his way to the top or for a player that has been at the top.
“That pride in the group is there and he’s hurting as much as anyone else.”