Three things we learned about Sunderland as Ross Stewart punishes QPR legend Ainsworth at Wembley
Sunderland returned to the Championship after a four-year absence following a convincing 2-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers at Wembley. Three things Capital Football has learned at England's national stadium.
Back in Championship and deservedly so
Sunderland thoroughly deserve to climb up the pyramid of English football after convincingly beating Wycombe Wanderers, managed by ex-QPR midfielder Gareth Ainsworth, at Wembley. After four years of League One purgatory the Black Cats are back in Championship. Either side of Elliot Embleton’s deflected goal, the outcome never really looked in doubt. Sunderland’s top goalscorer Ross Stewart missed a chance he would normally bury in his sleep when he headed wide from Alex Pritchard’s on-the-money cross six minutes after the break. But the lanky Scotsman finally had the last laugh when he fired Sunderland into a 2-0 lead with 11 minutes to go. Sunderland looked comfortable on the ball, transitioned quickly and scored twice from six scorable chances. They more than deserve to play against the likes of Norwich, Watford, QPR, Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield United and maybe Leeds United and Huddersfield Town. On top from start to finish, they deserve their place in the sun.
Stockdale gaffe cost Wycombe
David Stockdale fluffed his lines, letting in Elliot Embleton’s deflected yet saveable effort from outside the box. And Wycombe Wanderers paid the heaviest possible price. The ex-Fulham back-up keeper however redeemed himself when he kept out Ross Stewart who aimed for the far corner. But when both sets of supporters watch the highlights of this play-off final back in the years to come they will sing from the same hymn sheet in saying that the Wycombe goalie should have done much better on that occasion. He made amends later in the game. But the damage had already been done technically and psychologically for Wycombe.
Stewart like Mbappe
The 26-goal hero played a key role in the Black Cats’ promotion during the season as he carried his team on his shoulders in good and bad times. In the play-offs Stewart the occasion again, adding another two to his tally of 24. But his first-ever Wembley appearance was a baptism of fire and it had looked like it wasn’t his day. The poacher unconventionally missed a string of good chances before he struck. After only five minutes he came a fraction too late to bundle home Sunderland’s opener and also saw his bending effort saved later in the first period before missing a glorious headed opportunity after the restart. But the towering centre-forward didn’t give up and eventually succeeded in making amends for his spurned chances when he fired low into the bottom corner. In classic Kylian Mbappe style. In fact his goal was reminiscent of the PSG star's screamer against Croatia in the 2018 World Cup final.
20 Anthony Patterson- 14 Ross Stewart- 5 Danny Batth- 4 Corry Evans- 13 Luke O’Nien- 26 Bailey Wright- 11 Lynden Gooch- 77 Patrick Roberts- 7 Elliott Embleton- 21 Alex Pritchard- 17 Dennis Cirkin
Manager: Alex NEIL
13 David Stockdale- 3 Joe Jacobson- 4 Dominic Gape- 5 Anthony Stewart- 6 Ryan Tafazolli- 9 Sam Vokes- 12 Garath McCleary- 17 Daryl Horgan- 23 Jordan Obita- 26 Jason McCarthy- 28 Josh Scowen
30 Tyla Dickinson- 2 Jack Grimmer- 7 David Wheeler- 11 Lewis Wing- 18 Brandon Hanlan- 20 Adebayo Akinfenwa- 38 Chris Forino
Manager: Gareth AINSWORTH