ALEX NEIL insists he was always confident Sunderland would make it to Wembley last night – even if it took until the 93rd minute for Patrick Roberts to claim the goal that took the Black Cats into the League One play-off final.

Sunderland will take on Wycombe Wanderers for a place in the Championship a week on Saturday after last night’s 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday enabled them to claim a 2-1 aggregate win.

The game looked to be heading for extra-time when Lee Gregory cancelled out Ross Stewart’s first-leg goal with 16 minutes left, but Roberts converted Jack Clarke’s stoppage-time cross in front of a manic away end.

Sunderland have scored a succession of late goals since Neil replaced Lee Johnson in the autumn, and having resisted the temptation to make substitutions last night, the Scot was always confident another great late show was coming.

“It's probably the first time I've not made early changes, and that's because I had so much faith in those players,” said Neil. “I felt if I changed it, I might dilute what we were doing.

“I had to stick to my guns, but I believed in what that team were doing for me. They delivered for me again. But for us, it's only got us to an opportunity now. We've celebrated, but it won't be for long.”

Roberts led the celebrations after slotting home from close range, with his goal coming in front of the stand that was housing around 2,000 travelling Sunderland fans.

Neil was equally jubilant on the touchline, with his celebrations being repeated when referee James Linington eventually blew the final whistle after more than ten minutes of stoppage time.

“When that goal goes in, there's so much emotion that it's just hard to describe,” he said. “It’s relief, pride. Unfortunately I'm quite aggressive when I show all that! I don't try to be!

“If I'm honest, I'm just so pleased for the players, because they do get written off. People talked about coming here, Sheffield Wednesday being favourites. So, they can put that in their pipe.

“I thought it was no more than we deserved. We’ve switched off once and been punished for it. We've defended really well up until then, we didn't try to be defensive with our selection. I didn't think we deserved to trail.”

Sunderland’s glut of late goals under Neil speaks volumes for their collective character, a trait that will be needed when they take on Wycombe at Wembley.

“The one thing you want as a coach is your team to represent you,” said Neil. “I would regard myself as determined, focused and knowing what I want, doing everything I can to get it.

“I think this team completely represents me. And the thing is, they then have qualities that unfortunately for me I never, ever had as a player. So, if I can take that work-ethic, that determination, and put their quality next to it, it's a good recipe.”