April 30 memories: Sunderland celebrate instant promotion out of Third Division

Denis Smith and Marco Gabbiadini celebrate promotion at Port Vale on April 30, 1988

Denis Smith and Marco Gabbiadini celebrate promotion at Port Vale on April 30, 1988

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Sunderland boss Denis Smith completed his mission to get the Rokermen promotion out of Division Three at the first attempt on this day – April 30 – back in 1988.

Roared on by a vociferous travelling support at Vale Park 28 years ago, the blue-shirted visitors completed a double against Port Vale, with Eric Gates grabbing the only goal 11 minutes from time to seal promotion.

Sunderland fans at Port Vale

Sunderland fans at Port Vale

Sunderland went on to clinch the title, beating Northampton 3-1 three days later.

PORT VALE: Grew, Webb, Hughes, Walker, Hazell, Sproson, Ford, Earle, Riley (Maguire), Beckford, Mills

SUNDERLAND: Hesford, Kay, F Gray, Bennett (Agboola), MacPhail, Doyle, Lemon, Pascoe, Gates, Gabbiadini, Armstrong

Att: 7,569

Sunderland fans pack the terrace at Vale Park

Sunderland fans pack the terrace at Vale Park

Sunderland fans part at Port Vale

Sunderland fans part at Port Vale

Sunderland celebrate in the Vale Park dressing room

Sunderland celebrate in the Vale Park dressing room

Denis Smith hoists matchwinner Eric Gates

Denis Smith hoists matchwinner Eric Gates