Sunderland managed to secure a place at Wembley, defeating a battling Bristol Rovers team that won their previous league game against Blackpool 4-0. The lads started brightly, before allowing Rovers to claw their way back into the game. Jon McLaughlin was called into action several times, as Johnson Clarke-Harris proved a handful for defenders.
On the brink of half time, Max Power produces a wonderful pass to release Will Grigg who expertly dispatched into the bottom corner. The away end was pandemonium, and the lads went into half time with one half of football between themselves and a trip to Wembley. Just as fans were settling back into their seats, Lewis Morgan doubles the deficit. Lynden Gooch’s fierce shot was unable to be held and Morgan scored his first Sunderland goal. Cheesy chips on Wembley way!
After the second goal, the Gas piled the pressure on but ultimately the red and white defence was too resilient. The game was seen out professionally, and the Sunderland fans will be booking their hotels and buses.
Jon McLaughlin (8/10): Made some excellent and brave saves to keep the score 0-0 and contributed in helping the defence keep a clean sheet.
Luke O’Nien (7/10): Did well going forwards and back. Quickly becoming Sunderland’s most popular player.
Jimmy Dunne (7/10): Was generally solid and good in the air.
Tom Flanagan (7/10): Did well dealing with Johnson Clarke-Harris, who tried to be a nuisance. Calm throughout.
Adam Matthews (7/10): Stood in for Reece James in an unnatural position and didn’t really put a foot wrong.
Grant Leadbitter (8/10): Controlled the game with excellent vision and quality yet again.
Max Power (8/10): Formed a decent partnership with Leadbitter.
George Honeyman (6/10): Buzzed around constantly but unfortunately his evening was cut short due to injury.
Aiden McGeady (7/10): Tried to force the issue a few too many times- showed his skill but lots of attempts didn’t come off today.
Lewis Morgan (8/10): The Celtic loanee was excellent, tortured his fullback and got his first red and white goal.
Will Grigg (7/10): Showed some quality touches and a lovely finish for his first goal from open play.