Alex Neil has done an excellent job since taking the reins in the North East and the Black Cats feel closer to a Championship return than they have in a long while after this result.
Ross Stewart latched onto a weak Sam Hutchinson backpass to finish past Bailey Peacock-Farrell after a fortunate ricochet.
Sunderland were up for the challenge though and deserved their win against one of the best teams in the third tier since the back end of 2021.
Here, we have taken a look at three things we clearly learnt about Sunderland after their 1-0 win v Wednesday…
Threat in behind
Ross Stewart’s game has come on so much this season, with his hold up play, dribbling and aerial abilities taking many defences by surprise over the course of the campaign.
However, heading into this semi final tie, it did not seem like one of Sunderland’s main angles of attack, which is how it panned out with the Owls’ backline feeling the pressure.
With the passing range of the likes of Alex Pritchard and Jack Clarke, it could be a tactic that Neil utilises once again in the second leg.
Occasion not an issue
The Black Cats lost out to Lincoln City in the play-off semi finals last season, failing to bring their best game after an impressive second half of the season under Lee Johnson.
Carried by the atmosphere at the Stadium of Light, the players stepped up significantly even with Nathan Broadhead absent from the matchday squad.
The tougher test is yet to come, but Friday’s experience will build a lot of confidence within the camp.
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Roberts getting back to his best
Patrick Roberts was at a crossroads in his career when he signed for the Black Cats in January, but the 25-year-old’s undoubted ability is starting to come out in a Sunderland shirt in the crucial fixtures.
It was a big call to start him over Elliot Embleton, but the former Fulham man delivered and was a constant thorn in the Owls’ side, it will be interesting to see if Neil tweaks his approach for the second leg.