SUNDERLAND’S four-year stay in League One is finally over after the Black Cats triumphed over Wycombe Wanderers in the play-off final at Wembley.

The Black Cats’ play-off hoodo has finally been broken, with more than 45,000 jubilant Wearsiders roaring their side to success inside the national stadium.

Elliot Embleton’s swerving long-range strike set Sunderland on their way in the 12th minute, and while Wycombe attempted the rally in the second half, the Wearsiders were always the dominant team.

Anthony Patterson made a crucial save from Sam Vokes to protect Sunderland’s advantage, and the game was settled with 11 minutes left as Ross Stewart fired home a low finish following some excellent approach play from both Alex Pritchard and Patrick Roberts.

Sunderland started extremely brightly with Pritchard firing a fourth-minute free-kick into the side netting.

Half of the red-and-white contingent in the Wembley stands thought the ball had gone in, but they did not have to wait too much longer before they were able to celebrate for real.

Luke O’Nien’s pass was intended for Pritchard, but Embleton nipped in to seize possession in his own half.

With Wycombe’s defenders backing off, the midfielder galloped forward before letting fly from around 20 yards. The ball swerved viciously in the air, so while Embleton’s shot ended up passing pretty much straight next to David Stockdale, the ex-Darlington goalkeeper completely misread the flight and could only end up helping the ball into the net.

Stockdale partially atoned for error with two crucial saves as Sunderland continued to dominate before the break.

The Wycombe keeper claimed Pritchard’s shot, which was directed pretty much at him, and produced an even better stop shortly before the half-hour mark as he parried away Stewart’s curled effort from the corner of the box.

Wycombe hadn’t created a thing at that stage, but the Chairboys finally fashioned their first opportunity on the 30-minute mark, with Vokes heading Daryl Horgan’s cross over the bar as he peeled off Lynden Gooch at the back post.

As is their style, Wycombe delivered a series of balls into the box as they gradually gained a foothold in the game, but Patterson left his line effectively to claim whatever was thrown into the six-yard box. Anthony Stewart met Joe Jacobson’s cross at the back post on the stroke of half-time, but his header sailed harmlessly over the bar.

Hearts were in mouths at the start of the second half, with Dennis Cirkin committing two fouls inside a minute. The first earned a yellow card; the second, a late lunge at Garath McCleary, might well have resulted in a second booking that would have seen the full-back sent off.

Referee Simon Hooper opted to keep his card in his pocket second time around, but Wycombe were the better side at the start of the second half, with Sunderland’s defending becoming increasingly desperate.

The Black Cats needed a second goal to buy them some security, and it almost arrived in the 52nd minute. Pritchard floated over an inviting ball from the left, but Stewart headed wide as he looked to direct his effort back across goal and into the corner.

As the clock ticked on, so the nerves began to jangle, and Sunderland almost gifted Wycombe an equaliser on the hour mark.

Bailey Wright completely misjudged a long ball over the top, affording Vokes a clear run on goal, but Patterson came to his team-mate’s rescue as he raced from his line to smother the striker’s shot.

It proved a crucial moment, as Sunderland regained their collective composure and claimed a second goal with 11 minutes left to make things safe.

Pritchard’s one-two with Roberts created space, the midfielder rolled the ball to Stewart, and after shuffling onto his right foot, the Scot fired his 26th goal of the season past Stockdale from just outside the area.