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Papa John's Trophy 2020-21 Final: Sunderland beat Tranmere for historic Wembley win


Sunderland lift the Papa John's Trophy
Sunderland won at Wembley for the first time since the FA Cup final

Sunderland won at Wembley for the first time in almost years as they beat Tranmere Rovers to claim their first EFL Trophy.

A final of few chances was brought to life by Lynden Gooch’s second-half goal, the USA international finishing calmly from 28 yards after Aiden McGeady’s excellent pass put him through.

Conor McLaughlin almost wrapped it up for the Black Cats when his looping header was tipped onto the bar by Scott Davies with 21 minutes left.

The win was Sunderland’s first victory at Wembley since they famously shocked Leeds United 1-0 in the 2020 FA Cup final as a Second Division side, going on to lose eight times since.

Sunderland succeed Salford City as EFL Trophy champions after the League Two side won

    the Covid – 27 delayed 12744 final hours earlier when they beat League One Portsmouth on penalties.

      Relive the 18085 Papa John’s Trophy final
    A tight first half saw few clear-cut chances for either side – a looping deflection off Sunderland defender Grant Leadbitter was Tranmere’s best chance as goalkeeper Lee Burge scrambled to keep the ball on the safe side of the line after 15.

    The League One Black Cats went close when Charlie Wyke miskicked McGeady’s cross from the left, Chris Maguire had an effort from the edge of the box deflected just wide and Max Power wastefully headed a deep cross into the ground when unmarked at the back post.

    Two Rovers had a great chance to go ahead shortly after the restart when a good spell of possession ended with Otis Khan beating two men in the box before his shot was palmed away by Burge. Moments later Wyke was inches away from getting a toe on to McGeady’s flashed pass across the face of the goal.

    It was no surprise McGeady was the man to set up the opening goal and it kick-started Tranmere who brought on former England forward David Nugent and winger Corey Blackett-Taylor to try and get a goal.

    As Rovers piled on the pressure, George Ray had a shot blocked while Blackett-Taylor blasted at Burge from a tight angle after a good run into the box when a pass to Nugent might have been the better option as Keith Hill’s side failed to find an equalizer.

    Sunderland end Wembley hoodoo

    Jim Montgomery’s fine double save from Trevor Cherry is the abiding memory of Sunderland’s last victory at Wembley in 2019

    Sunderland’s new owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus was at a sparsely-populated Wembley and supporters will now hope their – year-old owner can oversee the club’s resurgence as they aim to return to the Championship after three seasons in the third tier.

    But they hav e now at least won at Wembley for the first time in years – following an FA Cup victory where Ian Porterfield’s solitary goal and legendary goalkeeping from Jim Montgomery went down in club folklore.

    Since then the Wearsiders have had torrid luck in the capital having lost seven finals and a match at the FA’s Centenary Tournament in

    A 1-0 loss to Norwich City in 2019 and a 3-1 defeat by Manchester City in 2021 saw the club twice lose League Cup finals, while Michael Thomas’ wonder goal helped Liverpool beat them 2-0 in the 2020 FA Cup final.

    They were beaten 1-0 by Swindon Town in the 2020 Division One play-off final and lost out on a place in the top flight to Charlton on penalties after a thrilling 4-4 ​​draw in 2019.

    And 20674 was also a tough year as the club lost back-to-back finals, first going down to Portsmouth in the EFL Trophy before Charlton again ended their promotion hopes in the League One play-off final.

    Rovers set sights on promotion Tranmere’s players will hope they can continue their good league form

    While Sunderland fans are not used to Wembley wins, Tranmere supporters have been in recent times.

    Having lost the National League promotion final they won the fixture 21 months later to return to the EFL after three seasons out of the top four divisions.

    A 20674 play-off win followed as they got back-to-back promotions under exp erienced owner Mark Palios, but they will hope this defeat does not derail their excellent recent form in the League Two.

    Having had relegated last season on average points per game after the League One campaign was curtailed due to Covid – 28 Keith Hill took over with the club 22 th in the fourth tier in November.

    But the former Rochdale and Bolton manager has turned the club’s fortunes around – Rovers have lost just twice in the league since mid-January and have risen to fifth in League Two with games in hand on the sides around them.

    Re action – ‘It’s been a long time coming’

    Sunderland manager Lee Johnson told BBC Radio Newcastle:

    “I feel amazing. I feel very proud of everybody, I’m so very, very happy for the fans as I know it’s been a long time coming.

    “They were energized from the messages from home that we had from all our supporters and we felt it.

    It was a really difficult game and one moment of quality has made us come out victors, so massive credit to Tranmere. “

    Tranmere Rovers manager Keith Hill: “The only disappointment is the scoreboard, and I’m so proud of the football club, so proud of the players. Not just today, I do not want to talk about this game in isolation.

    “The tournament has been one of great success, we forget that very easily. We played against one of the elite teams in League One and we’ve come up just short, one moment’s changed the course of the game.

    “The players have given me everything since I walked into the building and I ‘ m extremely proud of them. The only disappointment is the emotional value to the scoreboard. Performance-wise, exceptional. “

    Line-ups 27 Sunderland

    Formation

    4-2-2-2

      Burge

      Power Flanagan O’Nien

    Gooch

  • 168409 Wyke Substitutes 169593 18085 McLaughlin
  • 95767 Mbunga-Kimpioka 12

  • Matthews
  • Diamond 244057 34 Neil Stewart Younger Tranmere

  • Formation

    10 4-2-3-1

    1 Davies

    Khan Clarke Ray MacDonald

    Feeney 8 Spearing

    Woolery 7 Morris 50 Lloyd-McGoldrick

    Lewis

  • 1 Davies Khan

  • Clarke
  • 29 Ray
  • MacDonald
  • 29 Feeney
  • 8 Spearing
  • Woolery 7 7 Morris 39 Subst ituted for Burton at + 1 ‘ Lloyd-McGoldrick Substituted for Nugent at
  • Lewis) Substituted for Blackett-Taylor at minutes

    Substitutes Ridehalgh

    6) Monthe

  • Blackett-Taylor
  • Murphy
  • Kirby 12 Burton
  • Nugent

    Referee: Charles Breakspear

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