League One semi-final play offs

An overview of the League One play-offs, with Sunderland contending for a place in the Championship

multiple writers
22nd May 2022
Twitter: @SkyBetLeagueOne
On Sunday 8th and Monday 9th May, the play offs for four League One teams took place to earn a spot in the final at Wembley: Wycombe Wanderers, MK Dons, Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday battled it out over two legs.

MK Dons vs. Wycombe Wanderers:

Wycombe prevailed after their clash with MK dons after a resilient performance to clinch their place against Sunderland. A frantic, end-to-end first leg saw Wycombe take the lead through defender Ryan Tafazolli, who rose highest to glance home a header from Jacobson’s corner.

Wycombe continued to threaten, with Vokes having a goal chalked off for a close offside decision after a low drive was parried towards him. The Don’s electric youngster Scott Twine threatened from range with an audacious free kick that flew just over the bar. A few minutes later and the Dons were dealt a dramatic blow as Josh McEachran got himself his second yellow card inside 10 minutes. Down to 10 men for the last 20 minutes

Wycombe smelled blood in the water, relentlessly attacking the Dons’ defence, including a spectacular effort from McCarthy that beat keeper Jamie Cumming but agonisingly struck the underside of the bar and ricocheted away. The Dons had to crack under pressure, and in the 82nd minute, Vokes played a ball out to McCleary before running into the box and meeting the cross. The Unorthodox 1-2 lead to a venomous header into the right side of the net.

Giving Wycombe a significant advantage going into the second leg.

The Dons threatened early through a headed corner that looped onto the crossbar, but would be more successful at the next time of asking, with Tottenham loanee Troy Parrott heading over the keeper at the back post. Scott Twine had multiple chances from free kicks around the edge of the box but couldn’t seem to dial in his efforts and rarely challenged the keeper.

It was a miracle Wycombe didn’t concede another, as chance after chance went begging wide of the post or deflected off the keeper and out. Parrott found himself through on goal only to be denied by fantastic defending, a sliding challenge nicking the ball away from him and out for a corner. There was a small controversy involving a blocked shot in the penalty area, with Dons players believing it to be a handball, the referee was unphased by their appeals. Wycombe held on valiantly until the final whistle, cementing their place in the final.

Wednesday vs. Sunderland:

Friday 6th saw a 19:45 kick off between Sunderland vs. Sheffield Wednesday. After a gruelling first 45 minutes, Ross Stewart put away a clean ball in the first minute of injury time.

This goal was the only one of the first leg and was down to Wednesday's lapse in concentration. Coming from a Wednesday corner, Stewart received the ball from -- and with Sam Hutchinson on his tail he outran him to go 1-on-1 with keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell. Peacock-Farrell came out of his goal, took a touch but unfortunately left it open for Stewart to go around and take a touch into the bottom right of the net.

The Stadium of Light lit up on Friday, just as Hillsborough did when Lee Gregory scored to equalise on aggregate.

Instagram: @swfcofficial

During the second leg, Wednesday had a momentous amount of opportunities taking to half time still behind at 0-1. Sunderland were starting to lag in hope as Hillsborough's fans were singing and cheering their players onward.

The singing started to die down as the minutes ticked on; however, they were up in praise again as striker Lee Gregory tripped over Sunderland keeper Anthony Patterson in the 74th minute to equalise.

Captain Barry Bannan told players to keep their calm and not make mistakes as they set up for the whistle after Gregory's goal. Bannan needs to take credit for his team, especially as he received Wednesday's Player of the Season!

With the spirit of the goal and fans behind them, Wednesday took a few more opportunities but so did Sunderland! Wednesday had started a fire for Sunderland and the black cats came back with a bang.

There were a few bangs within the second leg of the match. Wednesday player Sam Hutchinson was almost stretchered off as Sunderland's Lynden Gooch headed the back of his head instead of the ball. After a pause in play, Liam Palmer was subbed on for a dizzy Hutchinson.

But back to the goal... in the 3rd minute of injury time, within the total of 10 minutes, Patrick Roberts put away a messy ball to bring the second leg equal but the aggregate to 1-2.

The Sunderland fans picked up their voices and cheered their team to the play off final.

Though Sheffield Wednesday will not be seen in the final at Wembley, they will be seen in League One against rival club Barnsley FC (who have just come down from the Championship, after finishing at the bottom of the league).

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