Jamie Proctor’s First Goal for the Valiants Brought us back into the Game but it is Defeat in the First Round of the Carabao Cup Tonight
Sunderland were back at Vale Park for the first time since 2018 and their fans witnessed a very quiet start with little happening in the first half hour. Leon Legge, back in the team after being on the bench in the season opener, had the Valiants’ first effort on goal from a corner but the header went wide of the goal on 33 minutes.
This was the first competitive game we had hosted since the 29th February 2020 and almost found ourselves a goal down with 34 minutes played when Jack Diamond chipped the ball over Aiden Stone in the area but it went just past the post. A minute later Josh Hawkes came close to putting the visitors in the lead as he shot from just outside the area towards the near post but Stone managed to parry the ball away for a corner.
James Wilson came close to opening his account at Northampton and had a great chance to do that against Sunderland. Good work from him and Jamie Proctor allowed Wilson to have the ball at his feet in front of goal but his shot was blasted over the bar after 38 minutes. A couple of minutes later and the Black Cats took the lead through Hawkes who again got on the ball on the left-hand side of the area after a pass from Alex Pritchard. This time he opted for the far post and Stone was unable to reach it as the strike ended up the bottom right corner.
On 43 minutes David Worrall made himself a nuisance in the Sunderland half, first almost winning a penalty for handball before firing a shot on goal which was held by Anthony Patterson in goal. Worrall looked to have been fouled again after the shot but referee Sam Allison was unmoved. In stoppage time of the first half, Legge again climbed highest after a corner was delivered but the ball was headed wide.
A quick start to the second half with a penalty being awarded to Sunderland on 49 minutes. A through ball from Sunderland which Stone dealt with well but referee Allison deemed a foul had been committed by Stone and gave a penalty to the visitors which was converted by Aiden O’Brien to double their lead.
Nathan Smith came close on 53 minutes from a Worrall free-kick with his header going just wide of the goal. Eight minutes later, Hawkes was looking for his second of the game with a great curling effort from the left but it narrowly went over the bar from distance. 67 minutes played and the Valiants came roaring back with Proctor scoring from close range after a great ball in from Worrall.
Our number seven almost brought us level on 82 minutes but somehow Sunderland managed to block the close ranged effort out for a corner. Numerous chances in the eight minutes of stoppage time for the Valiants to get an equaliser but we could not get the ball over the line as the game ended in a 2-1 defeat.
Port Vale: Stone, Jones (65’ Cass), Walker (65’ Amoo), Legge, Smith, Worrall, Garrity, Wilson (74’ Bailey), Benning, Proctor, Pett
Subs not used: Gibbons, Hurst, Johnson, Martin
Sunderland: Patterson, Flanagan, O’Brien, O’Nien, Taylor (74’ Doyle), Pritchard (65’ Grigg), Diamond (65’ McGeady), Neil, Younger, Wright, Hannes
Subs not used: Burge, Evans, Gooch, Stewar