GOALS from Liam Boyce and Scott Fraser saw the Brewers safely through to Round Two of the Carabao Cup after a 2-1 victory at Port Vale.
The Brewers made three changes to the side that won 3-1 at Gillingham. Jake Buxton and Colin Daniel dropped to the bench and Nathan Broadhead missed the match with an ankle injury. Oliver Sarkic and Reece Hutchinson came into the starting line-up with David Templeton recovering from injury to make the bench.
The Brewers lost at Vale Park in the Checkatrade Trophy last season and were keen to make progress again in the Carabao Cup after the adventures of 2018/19 which led to the semi-finals and Manchester City.
Albion opened the game brightly, winning a corner in the first minute and then crafting an early chance for Liam Boyce who shot wide at the near post after being fed by Scott Fraser.
Then Vale had a brace of good chances - first a volley from David Worrall that he couldn’t control and then a long range shot from James Gibbons that had O’Hara at full stretch.
Boyce then had a near identical chance to the one in the second minute with Fraser again provider and this time he made no mistake to make it 1-0.
Port Vale came close to an equaliser when Tom Conlon floated a 30-yard free kick over the wall and forced O’Hara into a good near post diving save on 19 minutes.
Albion could have made it two on 25 minutes. A brilliant through ball from Oliver Sarkic found Fraser unmarked in the box but Brown came out quickly to smother the shot.
After that it was Vale’s turn to create pressure with Mark Cullen and David Worrall testing O’Hara who was becoming the busier keeper.
Albion finished the half strongly with a fine move down the right that saw John Brayford get in behind the Vale back line only to see his cross cut out when Boyce was set to score.
From the corner Brayford met the ball with a firm downward header that bounced over the bar.
Port Vale were back in the game on 53 minutes. Cristian Montano drove the ball across the box and it hit John-Joe O’Toole and the ref said handball and pointed to the spot. Cullen converted the penalty to make it 1-1.
The goal seemed to fire the Brewers back into life and they started to find the passes again.
After a flowing move on 63 minutes Akins let loose a fierce drive that Scott Brown could only parry and Fraser was the first to react, slotting home the loose ball to make it 2-1.
Albion brought on Jake Buxton for Stephen Quinn and then Joe Sbarra for Oliver Sarkic.
Port Vale brought on marksman Tom Pope for Mark Cullen as they looked to get back into the game again.
Boyce nearly added a third on 85 minutes, firing hard and low and forcing Brown to save in the corner.
Attendance 2,252 - 277 Brewers fans