The Sunderland faithful were at Vale Park to witness yet another Sunderland win, this time to advance to the second round of the Emirates FA Cup after a gritty 2-1 victory over Port Vale on Sunday afternoon.
Jack Ross had always said that he is a fan of cup competitions, so he treated this one with respect, knowing that with a decent cup run can come large financial rewards, which teams at this level take as a bonus. That is why there are so many low-tiered teams praying for a giant killing - perhaps even in front of the live TV cameras - at this stage of the competition.
The real target will be to get to the third round, the stage we started in when we were in the Premier League. The further we get in the competition, the more money we receive.
In this tie, the gaffer made one change to the team that won 2-0 at Plymouth Argyle last Saturday, with Jerome Sinclair coming into the side for Josh Maja, whose potency in front of goal appears to have lessened somewhat in recent games after his brilliant, fruitful start to the season.
We begun the game in the best possible way with George Honeyman scoring in the first minute. Chris Maguire passed the ball at pace to the captain, who took on a shot that was beautifully curled around the Port Vale defender who was attempting to block it and into the bottom right corner.
The early pressure soon paid off again when it was 2-0 in the 19th minute. Sinclair held the ball up nicely inside the penalty area despite being dragged down and dug it out to Gooch, who turned and bulleted his shot into the bottom left corner.
The one-tier advantage was shown in the opening 35 minutes as we were easily dominating, both in possession and in front of goal.
Our levels dropped slightly and it wasn’t long before we knew we were back in a cup tie, when Oyeleke played through Tom Pope who he curled the ball into the bottom left corner of the Sunderland net. The Port Vale fans rose and their supporters were bouncing when they brought one back. They slowly crept back into the game from there after not looking like threatening in the first 35 minutes.
We didn’t start the second half as efficiently as the opening 45 and it was becoming tougher and tougher as the second spell of 45 progressed. Neil Aspin’s side could have arguably had a penalty but it wasn’t given by the referee, Anthony Backhouse.
The first change was made to reassure things with Josh Maja coming on the pitch for Jerome Sinclair, who had done well throughout the match when holding the ball up, up top. Then, Max Power was brought on in the place of Chris Maguire - it was slightly harsh on the King as I thought he had had a good game, but understandable when you consider he may well start our next two games.
As time ran down we needed to dig deep so we could avoid a replay. The hosts brought on 6’ 2” forward, Ricky Miller, looking to target our lack of height at the back.
Despite all of this pressure, we managed to hold on to a space in the second round draw on Monday night, where you can imagine that all of the lower-tiered teams still in the hat would love a home tie against us.
Next up, we face Morecombe on Tuesday night in the Checkatrade Trophy, where I totally expect the boss to play the likes of O’Nien, Ozturk, Power and Kimpioka due to the fact that we have so many games in the space of seven days.
Congratulations to Sandhill student Finlay Anderson, who is thrilled after landing a national accolade. Finlay was announced the winner of the national Stabilo Young Journalist of the Year competition. Well done Finlay, you have done yourself and the entire school very proud! pic.twitter.com/efZ0YO6WSc— Sandhill View (@SHVAcademy) November 2, 2018