Sunderland’s unbeaten home record in the league was ended by Coventry City on Saturday as Jack Ross' side were beaten 5 – 4 after turning in a shambolic defensive performance. The defeat and results elsewhere mean Sunderland slip to third in the table with Portsmouth and Charlton closing ground in the hunt for the automatic promotion places.
With Dylan McGeouch picking up a knock early in the game against Burton on Tuesday we knew Jack Ross would be forced into at least one change for the visit of Coventry City. In came Max Power at the expense of McGeouch in the only change Jack Ross made from the side that drew with Burton Albion.
The lads had the first effort of the game when Morgan had a volley blocked after being teed up by O'Nien before at the other end Sunderland afforded Thomas far too much space to run into the box but his effort was deflected wide though McLaughlin claimed the corner comfortably.
After ten minutes Sunderland fell behind and yet again it was after some sloppy play this time O'Nien haplessly conceded possession. A misplaced pass from the right back allowed the visitors in on goal and Enobakhare coolly clipped the ball into the bottom right hand corner past the diving McLaughlin with a tidy finish.
Sunderland responded well and five minutes later drew level after good work from Lewis Morgan on the left wing. The on loan winger made good ground down the left before powering into the box and poking the ball into the path of George Honeyman. The skipper made no mistake finding the corner of the net with a composed side footed first time strike.
Two minutes later Sunderland were carved open again and fell behind when Bakayoko found the net with a crisp left footed shot from just inside the box. Thomas was the architect running through Sunderland’s midfield unchallenged before easily unlocking the static defence with a pass into the path of Bakayoko who had ran beyond Sunderland’s backline.
Things went from bad to worse after 25 minutes as Jack Ross' side fell further behind and for the third time Coventry got in on goal far too easily. Hiwula found himself on the score sheet after he got into the box down the left hand side and got a bit fortunate when his shot deflected off O’Nien's attempted tackle and looped over McLaughlin to send the travelling fans wild. Things nearly got even worse for Sunderland after the half hour after Thomas again broke forward and exposed Sunderland’s awful defending finding Bakayoko but McLaughlin was equal to the effort.
It was a really poor opening from Sunderland defensively as the visitors looked like scoring every time they went forward. Fortunately Sunderland were handed a lifeline just before half time when the Coventry goalkeeper spilled a cross under a challenge from Will Grigg allowing Charlie Wyke a simple finish from close range into an empty net. There were five minutes injury time and Sunderland ended the half strongest and drew level to end what was a crazy first half.
A cross from the left from Oviedo was nodded down at the back post by Charlie Wyke to Will Grigg with Grigg stabbing the ball into the back of the net from inside the six yard box. This ended a crazy first half with Sunderland leaving the field to a rousing ovation.
There were no changes at the break and Sunderland immediately went on the front foot and had a shout for a penalty waved away after Grigg tumbled under a challenge in the box but the ref waved away the protests. Grigg was then played in on goal from a clever Leadbitter pass but the keeper turned his low shot round the post and Baldwin headed Leadbitter's corner over the bar.
Coventry began growing into the second half again breaking quickly and incisively and were rewarded when they notched their fourth goal of the afternoon with a great strike. Shipley was teed up on the edge of the box by Hiwula and the midfielder lashed the ball past McLaughlin with his left foot from just outside the box.
With half an hour to go the lads won a free kick in a dangerous position after Honeyman was caught late on the edge of the box. Grant Leadbitter curled a shot over the wall but the effort was pretty tame and the keeper held it easily. Jack Ross soon made his first changes of the game with Sterling and McGeady replacing Leadbitter and Grigg.
The changes had a positive affect and Sunderland drew level again with twenty minutes remaining as the crazy game showed no sign of slowing down. It was Max Power who found the net with a shot from the edge of the box which took a deflection and wrong footed the keeper.
Coventry then made a double change and one of their substitutes Chaplin capitalised on a shocking piece of defending from Jack Baldwin who went to ground trying to cut out a cross but misjudged it. This presented Chaplin a shot at goal from just outside the six yard box and he fired into the roof the net before celebrating in front of the Roker end which earned him a yellow card.
Jack Ross made his final change with less than ten minutes remaining as Benji Kimpioka replaced Lewis Morgan. Kaz Sterling then forced the Coventry keeper into decent stop with a shot from outside the box as Jack Ross got animated on the touchline with the fourth official due to the time wasting antics of the visitors. The physio was on numerous times as Coventry used every trick in the book to try and slow the game down.
Coventry had a good chance to extend their lead when they broke forward again down Sunderland’s right hand side but Jon McLaughlin denied Bakayoko with a smart stop. McLaughlin kicked the post in frustration after making the save at the ease of which he was exposed by his defence.
There was eight minutes added time due to the amount of goals and Coventry's time wasting and we had an early chance injury time when O’Nien's cross was half cleared by the keeper but McGeady volleyed over. McGeady then won a free kick on the edge of the box with a decent bit of trickery and the winger got up to take the set piece but curled his shot over the bar. Sunderland couldn’t muster another equaliser and the visitors held on for the victory.
Final Score: Sunderland 4 Coventry City 5
ALS Man of the Match: Charlie Wyke