SUNDERLAND'S young guns will have gained a lot tonight from their eventful EFL cup tie win over Port Vale according to manager Lee Johnson.

The Black Cats sealed a 2-1 win over the League Two side to progress to round two thanks to a low strike from Josh Hawkes and a penalty from Aiden O'Brien. 

In total, Johnson made eight changes from the win against Wigan in an attempt to strike the balance between playing his youngsters and getting the result to progress.

The youngsters had to survive a late fightback from Vale when Jamie Proctor scored from close range. After a quick floodlight failure, the game resumed with a bit of edge and there was a definite sense of nerves from the Sunderland players who held on through eight minutes of stoppage time to seal the win.

"It was a really good learning experience for us" said Johnson. 

"I wasn't too vocal on the sidelines because I wanted the young lads to try and solve the problems, the seniors to help them solve it.

"I thought we coped, at times we should have had more spells than we did. I think that's a little bit to their quality, and a little bit probably due to a lack of cohesion on our part.

"That XI probably hasn't had the same level of work as the lads who started against Wigan. What you would say is a lot of those young lads stepped up in front of a proper crowd.

"That's what you try and focus on. You want to win the game, get in the hat, and also a club come out of it in a stronger position.

"I thought we did that, by winning against a really senior Port Vale side where we've learned a lot."