Sunderland will hope to be lucky in the Premier League playoffs for the third time as they try to return to the championship with the Wycombe Wanderers for the first time in four years.
The Black Cats lost to Charlton in the 2019 final and lost to Lincoln City in the semifinals last year, but beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 in two games to advance to this year’s match at Wembley.
This is an area known to Wycombe Wanderers, who advanced to the playoffs to advance to the second tier for the first time in the club’s history two years ago.
However, they were immediately relegated again and reached the playoffs only on the final day, finishing sixth.
The fifth- and sixth-placed teams since 2017 have failed to play each other in the Ligue 1 play-offs, this time a weaker team, Millwall, 1-0 at the National Stadium.
The final of the First League games
- History: Sunday, 21 May
- Start time: 15:00
- television: Sky Sports Main Event
- Live broadcast: Watch in the NOW app on your mobile, tablet or smart TV (£ 33.99 per month; £ 11.98 for a 24-hour ticket) or through the Sky Go app for current subscribers
By Mark Douglas, and“Northern football correspondent”
After years of heartache, frustration and failure, Alex Neil reassured them at Sunderland.
When Lee Gregory equalized the draw in front of home fans, a club with a playoff history could easily fold in Hillsborough. However, they withdrew from their reserves, and the late Patrick Roberts’ goal was only the last in extra time in a 14-game unbeaten streak that witnessed many dramatic interventions.
Black Cats may not always bring Ligue 1 to life, but these days they have a different view of themselves. Tens of thousands of fans will gather in London for the final, but the key for the Nile is to work at Wembley.
Teams better than Sunderland didn’t produce results, but this team has the determination to outdo them. This is a club that wants to return to the championship and start a long journey back.
Wycombe also specializes in finding a way to cope with the challenges of his first season in Ligue 1. Gareth Ainsworth’s team has the experience, intelligence and a team that can handle Sunderland for most of the season.
Maybe not for purists, but it promises an interesting opportunity.
The drama of stopping suffocates on Wednesday
Author: Ross Heppenstall in Hillsbroda
Sheffield Wednesday 1: 1 Sunderland (Gregory 74 ′; Roberts 90 + 3 ′)
Approximately 77,720 fans watched the two sleeping English football giants collide on two legs, but in the end it was the Sunderlanders who shouted for joy.
Patrick Roberts’ dramatic late goal from Jack Clark’s low pass equalized in the 74th minute after Lee Gregory scored at Sheffield Wednesday.
Roberts’ goal extended Sunderland’s unbeaten streak to 15, but more importantly, they secured a tie-break victory and a League 21 play-off final against the Wycombe Wanderers on May 21.
You should have liked Darren Moore Syndrome, but it wasn’t just for Owls.
Sunderland have been largely irresistible since Alex Neil arrived in February, and the Scotsman will now consider his chances of winning a third managerial promotion, leading Hamilton Academic to the Scottish Premier League in 2014 and Norwich City to the Premier League in 2015.
The result will leave deep scars on Wednesday’s legionnaires, who have struggled for years since their clubs left the Premier League 22 years ago.
In the first match at Light Stadium on Friday, a crowd of 44,742 watched Sunderland, the highest score in the history of the Football League play-off semi-finals, with a score of 1: 0.
The Neil team was supported in Hillsborough and out-of-town fans sold tickets to 32,978 people.
With Moore’s side, who have scored 25 goals in their last eight games at Hillsborough, struggling to regain their home advantage, the desire was both visible and audible among fans on Wednesday.
There were no flaws in Wednesday’s attempt, but the real goals to score were limited.
Marvin Johnson’s left pass created problems for the visitors’ defense, and Gregory blocked Bailey Wright before Captain Barry Bannan’s low shot found Josh Windass out of the corner.
The owls were still making clearer holes. George Byers’ shot hit Anthony Patterson’s arm and Harley Dean shook his head over Banna’s free kick.
Judge James Lington also rejected two fines on Wednesday.
In the second half, despite a brief threat from the visitors, Wednesday could not refuse, and finally scored in the 74th minute. Banana’s brilliant pass sent Johnson into space on the left wing, Gregory went low and hard, and Gregory hit home at The Cop, scoring his 17th and most important goal of the season.
Hillsborough’s foundations were shaken as owl fans savagely celebrated.
However, in the third minute of extra time, Clark passed from the left wing, and Roberts scored a goal and sent the visitors to Wembley.
A destructive spirit for Wednesday, but a paradise for Sunderland.