This is how Sunderland booked their play-off final place with last-gasp Sheffield Wednesday win

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Sunderland repeated their late-goal trick to book another shot at Wembley glory.

Lee Gregory’s goal looked to be sending the game to extra time but Patrick Roberts’ close-range strike deep into ten minutes of added time allowed the Black Cats to edge through.

If there had been some questions before as whether Sunderland would look to sit on or push for another goal, Neil signalled his intentions from the off with an unchanged team that featured plenty of attacking talent.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

His side started brightly, too, seeing most of the ball in the opening minutes and trying to push up the pitch where possible.

Sunderland will face Wycombe at Wembley in the play-off finalSunderland will face Wycombe at Wembley in the play-off final
Sunderland will face Wycombe at Wembley in the play-off final

Perhaps inevitably, that composed early start began to give way to more tension as the hosts found their feet, began to press aggressively and forced Neil’s side into going long.

A touch tough often they were coughing up possession, inviting some pressure and requiring a couple of strong Bailey Wright blocks inside the box to preserve their slender lead.

They did close midway through the half when Pritchard’s free kick was flicked over the bar by Batth, but for the most part it was the hosts who were doing much of the attacking word. Jack Hunt threatened when meeting a cross at the back post, but could only skew wide of the near post.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sunderland could take solace that Anthony Patterson was not being worked too much, saving comfortably from Byers at a set play before Hutchinson headed over the bar moments later.

It was tense from a Sunderland perspective and they survived a further scare when the lively Josh Windass tussled with Dennis Cirkin in the box, the referee waving play on.

The visitors had made it to the break unscathed and having not ceded many clear chances, but with a clear need to try and impose themselves a touch more at the other end.

They were noticeably more dangerous at the start of the second, the home crowd almost growing a touch restless as a clever corner routine saw Clarke turn an effort just wide of the far post from the edge of ther area.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The winger then drove into the box and teed up Roberts, whose effort was ultimately too close to Peacock-Farrell who saved. A quick free kick then saw another Roberts effort blocked in the box, the away side surprisingly dominant.

All the same the tie was too close to call, underlined when a dangerous cross to the back post was only just turned wide of his own goal by Gooch.

A break in play for injury allowed Wednesday to reset and within twenty minutes of normal time to play, they were level. Bannan cut Sunderland open with a glorious through ball, allowing Johnson to fire a low cross from the byline where Gregory has the simplest of finishes.

The hosts were understandably beginning to look stronger, getting into some dangerous areas as the game moved into ten minutes of added time and then from nowhere, Sunderland struck.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Pritchard released Clarke in the channel and there to meet the low cross was Patrick Roberts.

Wednesday looked shattered, unable to forge another opening as Sundewrland held on.

Sunderland XI: Patterson; Gooch, Wright, Batth, Cirkin; Evans, O’Nien; Roberts (Broadhead, 90), Pritchard (Matete, 90), Clarke (Doyle, 90); Stewart

Subs: Hoffmann, Embleton, Neil, Hume

Sheffield Wednesday XI: Peacock-Farrell, Storey, Dean, Hutchinson (Palmer, 69); Hunt (Mendez-Laing, 69), Luongo, Byers (Berahino, 90), Bannan, Johnson; Windass (Paterson, 77), Gregory

Subs: Wildsmith, Kamberi, Dunkley

Bookings: Byers, 24 Bannan, 27 Stewart, 45 Dean, 76 Matete, 90

Attendance: 32,978