Port Vale Papa John’s Trophy campaign came to an end following a 2-0 defeat at Sky Bet League one side Sunderland.
Goals in each half from Aiden O’Brien and Aiden McGeady meant that Vale exited the Trophy at the last 16 stage.
The hosts had the first real chance of the game after six minutes, when a teasing free kick from out wide sailed into the box, but Dino Visser was on hand to prevent the ball from creeping into the back of the net.
Five minutes later, Chris Maguire forced another good save from our stopper as his effort on the angle inside the box was tipped wide for a Sunderland corner, which was eventually cleared.
The Black Cats broke the deadlock in the 21st minute of the game, after Lynden Gooch broke through the middle of the pitch before playing the ball through to Aiden O’Brien inside the box, who placed his effort into the bottom right corner, giving the hosts the lead.
Max Power was the next to come close for Sunderland on the half-hour mark, after his one two with Elliot Embleton led to him striking the ball, but his effort was deflected onto the crossbar before Visser gathered, meaning the hosts held a one goal lead at the break.
Lee Johnson’s side almost doubled their lead four minutes into the second-half, as Danny Whitehead’s miscued clearance ended up hitting his own post, before Nathan Smith cleared the ball from any immediate danger.
Tom Conlon 56th minute free-kick was the closest Vale came to grabbing an equaliser, when his set piece just right to the centre of the box drifted just wide of Remi Matthew’s post.
Leon Legge prevented the hosts from getting a second in the 59th minute when Gooch’s effort from inside the box seemed to be heading goal bound, before the centre back got in the way of the effort and deflected the ball wide.
Vale pushed for an equaliser and in the 67th minute Scott Burgess’ ball into the box was met by the head of Theo Robinson, but his header was blocked by a Sunderland defender before being cleared of immediate danger.
Two of the hosts substitutes linked up together in the 74th minute, as Aiden McGeady’s ball into the box was met by the head of Charlie Wyke, but Visser was on hand to keep the hosts at bay and keep Vale in the game for the final 15 minutes.
In the final minute of normal time, Conlon took aim from just outside of the box in search of the bottom corner, but his effort was blocked by a Sunderland body, and cleared from danger.
Cristian Montano was inches away from grabbing a dramatic stoppage time equaliser when his left-footed effort on the angle from the edge of the box drifted just wide of Matthews post.
In the last seconds of the game, with Vale throwing everybody forward, Sunderland countered and won a penalty when Dino Visser brought down Aiden McGeady as he was through on goal.
McGeady stepped up and despite Visser getting a hand to the penalty, he despatched his effort into the top left corner and with that Sunderland saw the game out, meaning our Papa John’s Trophy campaign came to an end at the last 16 stage.
Vale have the opportunity to hit back with a victory on Saturday when we travel to Forest Green Rovers in our Sky Bet League Two clash.
Sunderland: Matthews, Power, Wright, Willis (Younger 71’), McFadzean, Embleton (Diamond 78’), Neil (Leadbitter 45’), Scowen, O’Brien, Gooch (Wyke 71’), Maguire (McGeady 71’).
Subs not used: Patterson, Dobson.
Port Vale: Visser, Mills, Smith, Legge, Crookes (Fitzpatrick 71’), Conlon, Whitehead (Taylor 56’), Burgess (Cullen 71’), Hurst (20’ Montano), Amoo, Robinson (Pope 71’).
Subs not used: Brown, Brisley.