Coventry City v Sunderland: League One big-hitters share the spoils in an engrossing 1 – 1 draw

Coventry may have taken a draw prior to kick-off, but after coming out fighting from going down a goal early on in the second half, the Sky Blues may feel they could have taken all three points.

Just over 16,000 fans oversaw a tense and uneventful first half between third placed Sunderland, and midtable Coventry.  

The highlight of the first half saw Sunderland’s Chris Maguire rattling Lee Burge’s post with a fantastic free-kick 25-yards from goal. A first half injury to left back Junior Brown, saw Coventry reshuffling at the back. Brown was replaced by centre back Tom Davies, with Willis moving to right back, and Chelsea loanee Dujon Sterling switching to left back.

Sunderland started the second half much the brighter, and the opening goal of the game came from Lee Cattermole, who bagged his third goal of the season, equalling his best ever goals return in a single season.

An Adam Matthews cross wasn’t dealt with by the Coventry defence, and Cattermole was left unopposed to place the ball easily into the Coventry net within five minutes of the restart.

The setback breathed life into the Sky Blues, with Black Cats keeper John McLaughlin called into action with efforts from Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Coventry eventually got their rewards with an equaliser on 68 minutes. Dujon Sterling latched onto some hesitation amongst the Sunderland defence, playing an accurate ball across the box from the left hand side, which Clarke-Harris managed to nestle into the bottom corner past McLaughlin.

Both sides had chances to take the lead after the equaliser. Burge pulled off some stunning stops; his strong right hand to deny Honeyman was a particular highlight. At the other end, a defensive error left Conor Chaplin one on one with the keeper after a speculative clearance from Jordan Willis. Chaplin may have had a little too much to contemplate how to beat the keeper. The former Portsmouth striker’s attempt to lift the ball over McLaughlin lacked the pace to take it over the line, with Matthews tracking back to pull off a breathtaking goal line clearance.

Goals aside, the biggest cheer of the game came when Jodi Jones made his competitive return to the Coventry side, replacing Luke Thomas on 77 minutes. The young winger has been out with an ACL injury since last November, and Coventry fans will be pleased to see him making progress.

With both sides having the opportunity to snatch a late winner, a 1 – 1 draw is perhaps a fair result. Coventry can take heart in the fact they went toe-to-toe with promotion favourites, and not only held their own, but could have easily come away with all three points. Tuesday’s fixture against table topping Portsmouth will further test their mettle.

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