Sunderland AFC ended their 48-year look forward to a Wembley win, beating Tranmere Rovers 1-0 to say the 2021 Papa John’s Trophy on the home of football.
It was a second-half strike from Lynden Gooch – a man who has been with the membership since he was 10 years old – that sealed the victory under the well-known arch, and noticed off a Tranmere side who had carved out a number of alternatives of their own.
Sunderland, who haven’t gained at Wembley since 1973, have been seeking to win the EFL Trophy for the primary time of their history, whereas Tranmere have been seeking to carry the well-known trophy for the primary time in over 30 years. The 2 sides have contrasting memories in the case of enjoying on the National Stadium, however with each very a lot within the combine for promotion from their respective divisions, it was set as much as be an thrilling contest.
It was the League One side who had the higher of the possession within the opening exchanges, top-scorer Charlie Wyke the focal point up top with Lynden Gooch and Aiden McGeady seeking to trigger a problem within the extensive areas.
Sunderland goalkeeper Lee Burge needed to be alert to make a pair clearances following good work from Tranmere’s Calum MacDonald and Danny Lloyd, as the sport began to open up.
The primary try on goal got here 15 minutes in, with Chris Maguire discovering house within the field to get his shot away, however the Sunderland midfielder dragged his effort extensive.
Burge was known as into motion once more, as he fought his method via a crowded field to punch a Liam Feeney free-kick to security, earlier than Maguire once more got here close to breaking the impasse. This time, his deflected effort from the sting of the realm sailed just inches extensive of the post, with Max Energy unable to bother Scott Davies within the Tranmere goal together with his header from the ensuing corner.
With no noticeable hole in high quality between League One and League Two opposition, Tranmere responded with extra constructive play, this time via Otis Khan, however his cross into the field flew past everybody on the far side.
A well-drilled Sunderland back-line handled the stress imposed by Tranmere and, following an open first half, the perimeters went in level.
The best opening of the sport till that point got here just three minutes into the second half, as Khan skipped past the Sunderland defence, drawing a big save from Burge, however the Black Cats responded as Wyke got here just inches away from assembly a low cross throughout the field.
Just earlier than the hour mark, the impasse was damaged. After selecting up the ball in his own half, McGeady played a perfectly-weighted cross via the center of the Rovers defence, setting Gooch away. The USA international took his time and picked his spot, with a confidently-placed finish past Davies.
Tranmere responded well, Kaiyne Woolery and George Ray asking questions of the Sunderland defence, as Keith Hill’s side appeared to reply. With the guests within the ascendency, the Black Cats have been made to work hard on the back to protect their lead.
Substitute Corey Blackett-Taylor appeared vigorous from the bench and drew a low save from Burge earlier than, on the different end, McGeady’s cross was flicked on and got here off the top of the crossbar. Keith Hill rolled the cube as soon as extra, bringing on Jake Burton, with Rovers hoping to send the sport to extra-time.
However Sunderland held their lead and celebrated wildly upon the full-time whistle, a moment which can reside lengthy within the memory for everybody related to the membership. Manager Lee Johnson had described the sport because the start of Sunderland’s “resurrection,” and these on Wearside might be hoping it is just that.