Match ends, Sunderland 2, Wycombe Wanderers 0.
Sunderland clinched promotion to the Championship as goals from Elliot Embleton and Ross Stewart gave them victory over Wycombe in the League One play-final at Wembley.
Embleton's 12th-minute strike put the Black Cats ahead as they dominated the match from the beginning.
His blasted effort from outside the area went straight through Wycombe keeper David Stockdale, who then made a string of saves to keep the score at 1-0.
Ross Stewart's 26th goal of the season - his fifth against Wycombe - gave Sunderland a cushion with 11 minutes to go, as they saw out the game to join Wigan and Rotherham in the second tier next season.
Sunderland fans made the trip down in numbers for the final, filling their end and even using some of the top two tiers in the Wycombe half, and it was the north-east side who started brighter, with Alex Pritchard sending a fierce free-kick into the side netting.
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They did not need to wait long for the opener and it was one for Stockdale to forget, with Embleton collecting the ball near the halfway line and charging at the Wycombe defence.
Ryan Tafazolli stood off him and he took advantage of the space, smashing a shot goalward which hit Stockdale on the shoulder and went in before he could react.
Stockdale did well to keep out efforts from Pritchard and Stewart as Sunderland looked likely to add to their early goal.
Substitute Brandon Hanlon burst down the left for Wycombe but his shot was tame and easily collected by keeper Anthony Patterson, who also denied Sam Vokes.
Stewart made the result safe when he received the ball on the edge of the area and sent a neat right-foot finish into the bottom-left corner past Stockdale.
Veteran striker Adebayo Akinfenwa came on for Wycombe 15 minutes from time in the final game of his career, but the 40-year-old was unable to change the outcome.
Sunderland celebrate after six long seasons
The sense of relief and jubilation amongst the Sunderland fans when Stewart's shot nestled in the back of the net was palpable.
Finally, after six long years, they have something to cheer.
Consecutive relegations saw the club fall from England's top tier to the third in just a year, and that is where they have remained.
But they put on a real show in front of their fans, dominating the match from start to finish and thoroughly deserving a place in next season's Championship.
Named man of the match at Wembley, Alex Pritchard was immense, claiming two assists and stringing together attack after attack.
Patrick Roberts' jinking runs from the right side were a constant threat, while Embleton and Stewart were on the mark when it mattered for Alex Neil's men.
The atmosphere generated was incredible. Those supporters will enjoy their night in London and the Stadium of Light will be an intimidating place for their Championship rivals next season.
No fairytale end for Akinfenwa and Wycombe
It seemed like destiny.
Akinfenwa - aged 40 and in the final appearance of his long career - coming off the bench to send his team back to the Championship after a year in League One.
It would have been the perfect parting gift and a beautiful end to his playing career.
But it was not to be, and in truth, never looked likely.
Gareth Ainsworth's Chairboys were defensively magnificent in their semi-final second leg against MK Dons, surviving a 90-minute onslaught and progressing to the final despite a 1-0 defeat.
The final at Wembley had a similar feel in the opening stages, as Sunderland took the initiative and Wycombe struggled to get a foothold in the game.
'The Beast', as he is known affectionately among his team-mates and the Wycombe fans, did make it on for the final stages, but Stewart's goal crushed Wycombe's hopes of a comeback.
Akinfenwa applauded the fans after the final whistle with his team-mates at the end of a terrific season.
He will miss them just as much as they will miss him.
- 17CirkinBooked at 46mins
- 21PritchardBooked at 75minsSubstituted forDoyleat 81'minutes
- 8EmbletonSubstituted forClarkeat 61'minutes
- 14StewartSubstituted forBroadheadat 88'minutes
- 17HorganSubstituted forWingat 55'minutes
- 4GapeSubstituted forAkinfenwaat 75'minutes
- 23ObitaSubstituted forHanlanat 65'minutes
- Simon Hooper
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Sunderland 2, Wycombe Wanderers 0.
Attempt saved. Jack Clarke (Sunderland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Adebayo Akinfenwa (Wycombe Wanderers) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Garath McCleary with a cross.
Substitution, Sunderland. Nathan Broadhead replaces Ross Stewart.
Attempt blocked. Garath McCleary (Wycombe Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Brandon Hanlan.
Corner, Wycombe Wanderers. Conceded by Corry Evans.
Attempt blocked. Josh Scowen (Wycombe Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Patrick Roberts (Sunderland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Lynden Gooch with a through ball following a fast break.
Attempt missed. Ross Stewart (Sunderland) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jack Clarke.
Foul by Corry Evans (Sunderland).
Lewis Wing (Wycombe Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Sunderland. Callum Doyle replaces Alex Pritchard.
Goal! Sunderland 2, Wycombe Wanderers 0. Ross Stewart (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Alex Pritchard.
Attempt saved. Brandon Hanlan (Wycombe Wanderers) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Offside, Wycombe Wanderers. Joe Jacobson tries a through ball, but Sam Vokes is caught offside.
Alex Pritchard (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Alex Pritchard (Sunderland).
Josh Scowen (Wycombe Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Wycombe Wanderers. Adebayo Akinfenwa replaces Dominic Gape because of an injury.