Port Vale 1-2 Sunderland
Sunderland are into the second round of the Emirates FA Cup following a hard-fought win at Port Vale on Sunday.
A blistering start from Jack Ross’ side saw the Lads race into a two-goal lead, as George Honeyman and Lynden Gooch struck early on.
But the drama was far from over, and a typical cup tie followed.
The introduction of Manny Oyeleke gave the home side a foothold in the game, and Tom Pope’s impressive finish reduced the deficit before the break.
Vale burst out of the blocks following the restart and Sunderland were forced to dig deep, but they weathered the storm and secured their place in Monday’s draw.
Ross made one change to the side that defeated Plymouth Argyle last time out, with Jerome Sinclair replacing Josh Maja in the starting XI.
And the striker played his part in the opener, as Vale were caught cold.
With just 36 seconds on the clock, Sinclair held up the ball and found Maguire, with a well-worked move topped off by a fine low finish from Honeyman.
Shaky at the back, the home side almost found themselves 2-0 down soon after, as Tom Flanagan blazed over after Maguire’s corner dropped invitingly in the box.
McGeady then fired wide before Maguire forced Scott Brown into action, as Sunderland looked to kill off the game early on.
But it was Gooch who delivered the next blow, with Sinclair providing a tenacious assist for the USA international, who drove a low finish beyond Brown.
The Lads should have bagged a third three minutes later, but with Sinclair lying in wait with the goal at his mercy, Maguire was unable to supply the necessary ball across goal.
Ten minutes before the break, the home side struck back, Pope’s well-taken finish lifting a previously gloomy Vale Park.
And Neil Aspin’s side were rejuvenated following the restart, as the Black Cats were made to defend.
Ben Whitfield mustered the best opportunity, bulldozing his way past Jack Baldwin and Dylan McGeouch before lashing a thumping effort into the side netting.
The right winger continued to cause problems and was sent tumbling in the box soon after, but the referee remained unmoved and Baldwin looked to have played ball before man.
Maja was introduced as the Lads sought a decisive third, and he immediately gave the Vale defence something to think about, as they crowded him out inside the six-yard box.
Power was also called upon and the midfielder’s presence was in valuable, as he sat deep alongside McGeouch and the duo controlled the flow of the game.
There was further drama to come, though.
Seconds after Brown denied Honeyman with a stunning save, the ball pinged around the six-yard box and Vale failed to provide a finishing touch before Reece James swept the ball to safety.
Vale continued to come, but the Lads dug deep and ensured they marched into the next round.
Port Vale: Brown, Joyce, Legge, Pope, Hannant, Rawlinson, Smith, Vassell (Oyeleke 30), Conlon (Montano 70), Clark, Whitfied (Miller 80).
Subs not used: Kay, Horby, Dodds, Hardcastle.
Sunderland: McLaughlin, Flanagan, Baldwin, Matthews, James, McGeouch, Honeyman, McGeady, Gooch (O’Nien 80), Maguire (Power 71), Sinclair (Maja 64).
Subs not used: Ruiter, Oviedo, Loovens, Ozturk.