Sunderland sealed a first Wembley win since 1973 with a Lynden Gooch goal to win the Papa John’s Trophy.
The first half was a cagey affair with Tranmere edging proceedings, but there were little chances through the opening 45. Sunderland took the lead early in the second half with a Lynden Gooch goal which was enough to get the win and the elusive Wembley win!
Sunderland travelled to Wembley looking to end a 48-year baron run at the home of football dating back to the 1973 FA Cup final with the famous win against Leeds.
Lee Johnson made four changes with Tom Flanagan, Grant Leadbitter, Chris Maguire, and Gooch came in for Dion Sanderson, Carl Winchester, Aiden O’Brien, and Jordan Jones.
Through the first five minutes, both teams were feeling each other out, and it was a passive start from both teams.
It was a strange and eery atmosphere at Wembley, missing the 45 thousand fans cheering on the lads.
Tranmere were the first to have a chance in bizarre circumstances; a looped header was awkward for Lee Burge, who chose to catch the ball and almost dropped it in his net but managed to recover.
Sunderland had their first opening from a sloppy pass from Tranmere, and Chris Maguire pounced and tried an effort range that was dragged just wide.
Despite not testing Burge, Tranmere will have been the happier side 20 minutes into the game and looked a threat.
Aiden McGeady has been in sensational form and took his marker a spin and whipped in a lovely ball to Charlie Wyke, who couldn’t get the contact to beat Scott Davies in the Tranmere net.
Sunderland had their best chance on the half-hour mark from a free-kick, it was worked out wide and played into Maguire, who tired his luck from range, and his deflected effort just trickled past the post.
The lads had a great opening to get the first goal with a few minutes left in the half; Gooch worked it well to Maguire who got his cross in, but it just evaded an open McGeady, primed to shoot.
Johnson was forced into an early change as Tom Flanagan was brought off because of an injury and replaced by Connor McLaughlin.
Going into the break, Tranmere will have been the happier they were the more threatening and looked the likelier.
Just like the first half, Tranmere had started well, and Otis Khan did brilliantly down the right-hand side and forced Burge into a great save.
McFadzean pounced on a mistake and played McGeady in wide and played it perfectly to Wyke in the middle, but he couldn’t get the contact to prod the ball home.
Out of next to nothing, McGeady cut open the defence with a magnificent pass to Gooch who stroked the ball into the net to give the lads the lead!
The League Two side had responded well and were putting the pressure on with several crosses going into the box.
Tranmere had thrown in over 20 crosses and on several occasions were inches away from getting that telling touch; Sunderland had sat deep and looked to settle on that one goal advantage.
From a short corner, Sunderland almost got a second as McGeady’s ball in looped up and onto the bar.
With less than ten minutes to play, it was all about game management for Johnson’s men and to keep it simple and see out the final stages.
Sunderland survived the added time to seal a massive win and put an end to the Wembley hoodoo - at last.
Full Time: Sunderland 1-0 Tranmere
ALS Man of the Match: Luke O’Nien
Sunderland: Burge; Power, Flanagan (Mclaughlin 44’), O'Nien, McFadzean; Scowen, Leadbitter; Maguire (Diamond 63’), Gooch, McGeady; Wyke
Subs not used: Matthews, Younger, Kimpioka, Stewart