Sunderland fell to a crucial defeat at the hands of fellow promotion chasers Coventry who sealed the 1-0 win in the first two minutes of the game.
Matt Godden scored early in the match and Sunderland battled hard but couldn’t find that equaliser. Max Power had the ball in the back of the net, but it was ruled out and that was as close as the lads got.
Sunderland travelled to Coventry’s temporary home of St Andrews in a massive game at the top of the League One table. Despite the pre-game doubts for Charlie Wyke and Lynden Gooch the pair both started in an unchanged side.
Coventry started on the front foot and took the lead 90 seconds into the game through top scorer Matt Godden who was slipped through by Jamie Allen and fired it low past Jon McLaughlin – Sunderland gave the ball away terribly and resulted in the worst possible start.
Sunderland’s first opening was a brilliant attempt by Charlie Wyke who nipped in to win the ball and unleashed a fine volley which just whistled past the post.
15 minutes into the game and Sunderland had grown into the game but were still yet to test Marko Marosi in the Coventry goal.
From a Chris Maguire free-kick, the lads created their best chance so far – the ball was whipped into Tom Flanagan at the far post and with no defender in sight the big centre half couldn’t control his volley and should have headed it.
Sunderland should have equalised from another Maguire set-piece as the corner was whipped in and met by Wyke whose header from close range somehow went over the bar.
The game had gone a bit flat with Sunderland controlling possession but struggling to get the bodies in the box and failed to get that equaliser before half time.
Ten minutes into the second half and Parkinson’s men were struggling to create and that final ball just wasn’t there.
Denver Hume was not having his best game in a Sunderland shirt with several crosses going astray and over everyone.
Sunderland could have easily had a penalty midway through the second period as O’Nien was clearly held back and was only inches away from getting his head to it.
Coventry’s Allen forced McLaughlin into a save on his near side and the Scot comfortably parried away the effort to safety.
Sunderland needed a change and Kyle Lafferty came on for Hume which moved Gooch to left wing-back and the Northern Irishman up top with Wyke.
The game was set up for the lads to get something out of it with the hosts looking shaky at the back and there for the taking.
Sunderland had the ball in the back of the net, but it was disallowed for offside after hitting O’Nien on the way in. The goal was initially given, but after the referee spoke with his assistant, he confirmed it hit off O’Nien.
Parkinson brought on Antoine Semenyo for Jordan Willis in a bid to go all out for that goal and get the lads back into it.
The home side had a chance to kill the game off as Godden was set through on goal, but the forward never got his balance sorted and his effort flashed wide.
The lads were pushing and pushing but just couldn’t get that slice of luck or that final pass to set someone away.
Full Time: Coventry 1-0 Sunderland
ALS Man of the Match: Chris Maguire
RATINGS VS COVENTRY
BY DANIEL MCCALLUM
Jon McLaughlin (6/10): Not that busy. No chance for the goal. Made a few simple saves in the first half.
Luke O’Nien (6/10): Decent on the ball but a little lightweight at times.
Jordan Willis (6/10): Assured and calm against Coventry’s relentless pace and sacrificed for Semenyo later on.
Alim Ozturk (7/10): Kept the Coventry attack at bay as we threw men forward late on.
Tom Flanagan (7/10): Put his body on the line, particularly in the first half. Made a few crucial blocks but probably should have scored from a set piece.
Denver Hume (5/10): Good dribbling but no end product again. Got caught offside a few times when he was in acres of space, from Ozturk’s diagonal balls.
Max Power (6/10): Seemed to be second to every ball and overran against the quality of the opposition. Possibly unlucky to have his deflected shot chalked off for offside.
George Dobson (7/10): Did well to keep the ball moving and kept going forward.
Lynden Gooch (5/10): Another game where nothing came off for the winger, and where he was guilty of trying to do too much.
Chris Maguire (6/10): Struggled to make much of an impact against a resolute defence.
Charlie Wyke (6/10): Couldn’t compete with the physicality of McFadzean, but linked play pretty well when the ball was on the ground.
Kyle Lafferty (6/10): Added more of a physical presence up front.
Antoine Semenyo (6/10): Showed some deft touches but looked a bit lightweight.