Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:45 pm
It's all square between Coventry City and Sunderland
Coventry City recorded a hugely satisfying draw against a strong Sunderland side tipped for automatic promotion this season.
The Sky Blues had to come from behind after Lee Cattermole gave the Black Cats an early second half lead after an extremely tight first half at the Ricoh Arena.
But Jonson Clarke-Harris pulled City level in the 67th minute with a delightful and deserved finish from the big centre-forward who had an outstanding game.
And Conor Chaplin went agonisingly close to snatching the full three points with a late effort that was cleared off the line while Lee Burge pulled off two brilliant late saves as both sides went for a win in an exciting climax to the televised clash.
It was a fiercely competitive first half when there was very little to choose between the two sides, each managing just one effort on target each and neither testing the keepers.
Sunderland went closest to breaking the early deadlock when set-piece specialist Chris Maguire thumped the post from a 22 yard free-kick in the tenth minute, while both sides were forced to make changes to their defences due to injuries.
First influential centre-back Glenn Loovens had to go off for the Black Cats, replaced by Adam Matthews as early as the fourth minute, before Coventry’s Junior Brown had to go off with a head injury.
Brown clashed heads with Jonson Clarke-Harris at a 12th minute corner, replaced by Tom Davies and forcing a re-shuffle of the back four with Dujon Sterling switching across to cover at left-back and Jordan Willis moving across to right-back.
The visitors were forced to make a second change just after the half hour mark when left wing-back Denver Hume limped off and was replaced by Bryan Oviedo.
The game opened up in the second half when the Black Cats got their noses in front in the 50th minute when Chris Maguire was allowed to cross deep from the right, with the ball falling to the unmarked Cattermole who picked his spot in the box, giving Lee Burge no chance.
Tom Bayliss very nearly pulled City level two minutes later when Michael Doyle picked him out in the box, only for the teenager’s shot to be denied by a brilliant save by John McLaughlin.
The Sunderland stopper denied a rasping effort from Jonson Clarke-Harris minutes later – the big centre-forward a real presence up front.
But Clarke-Harris finally got his reward in the 67th minute when Dujon Sterling slipped the ball into him from the right and he executed a terrific finish to finally beat the Black Cats keeper.
Jodi Jones made his long-awaited return to action, going on as a substitute for Luke Thomas for the last 15 minutes as City found themselves soaking up pressure and looking to snatch a winner on the counter attack.
The visitors threw the kitchen sink at City who were forced to defend in numbers with Burge making two brilliant late saves.
And City almost snatched the points when Conor Chaplin raced clean through, hits his shot coming off the keeper but his effort cleared off the line by the recovering Tom Flanagan at the last second.
But City left the field with their heads held high, knowing they’d matched their opponents every step of the way.
Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:16 pm
Police officer hurt after Coventry match disorder
An officer was injured after disorder broke out following a match between Coventry City and Sunderland.
West Midlands Police said it happened outside the Ricoh Arena in Coventry following the fixture on Saturday.
The force said trouble flared as fans left the arena. One officer was treated for minor injuries in hospital.
A man aged 22 from Sunderland has been charged with being drunk and disorderly and is due to appear before Coventry Magistrates' Court on 16 October.
Investigations are ongoing and anyone with information should call 101, the force added.