Sunderland end 48-year Wembley hoodoo with McGeady assist for only goal of the game

The Owls are seven points from safety.

LAST UPDATE | 14 Mar 2021

SUNDERLAND ENDED THEIR 48-year Wembley hoodoo with a 1-0 victory over Tranmere in the Papa John’s Trophy final.

sunderland-v-tranmere-rovers-papa-johns-trophy-final-2021-wembley-stadium Sunderland players celebrate with the Papa John's Trophy at Wembley. PA PA

Lynden Gooch’s second-half goal ensured the Black Cats, winless in eight visits to Wembley since stunning Leeds to win the 1973 FA Cup final, were victorious in the capital.

There was little to separate the teams in an entertaining contest – but a moment of quality proved decisive in the 57th minute when Aiden McGeady split the Tranmere defence with a through-ball and United States international Gooch finished off the chance.

Tranmere had the best chance of the first half in the 15th minute when Grant Leadbitter’s attempted clearance of Danny Lloyd’s shot was well kept out by stretching Sunderland goalkeeper Lee Burge.

Veteran Rovers defender Peter Clarke was penalised for a foul on Charlie Wyke in the 38th minute, giving McGeady a free-kick in a similar position to one he scored from in the 2019 final against Portsmouth – but this time the 34-year-old fired well over.

sunderland-v-doncaster-rovers-sky-bet-league-one-stadium-of-light Aiden McGeady (file photo). PA PA

After the restart, Tranmere continued to look dangerous. However, Lee Johnson’s team responded in the 51st minute when 26-goal top scorer Wyke failed to make the right connection with McGeady’s driven cross.

Then came the key moment, McGeady’s vision and incisive pass setting up Gooch who advanced and coolly lifted the ball over goalkeeper Scott Davies.

Sunderland came close again when McLaughlin’s 76th-minute effort was tipped onto the bar and over by Davies, but they held on to end their long wait for Wembley success.

Earlier Norwich heaped more misery on relegation-threatened Sheffield Wednesday after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Hillsborough and restoring their 10-point lead at the top of the Championship.

sheffield-wednesday-v-norwich-city-sky-bet-championship-hillsborough Norwich City's Teemu Pukki celebrates with team-mates after scoring their side's first goal of the game. PA PA

Jordan Rhodes scored in the seventh minute for Wednesday, but the Canaries responded through second-half goals from Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell to claim an eighth consecutive win.

Darren Moore’s Owls stayed second bottom in the table, seven points from safety. Moore made four changes from the side that lost to Reading last weekend with the main note of Irish interest seeing goalkeeper Keiren Westwood brought in.

The hosts unexpectedly took the lead early on when Rhodes latched onto Pelupessy’s deflected shot following a Wednesday free-kick and poked home from six yards.

Pukki bagged his 21st goal of the season as he scored a 61st-minute equaliser. The Finn linked up with Oliver Skipp before sending a venomous shot beyond Westwood.

Pukki almost scored again with 25 minutes left to play. Drifting inside from the left, he took aim on his left foot as he narrowly missed the target.

Cantwell effortlessly curled Norwich into the lead in the 77th minute. Buendia provided the assist and the midfielder did the rest as he let loose with a screamer on his left foot.

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