OPPO: Coventry City
TEAM: . Poom; Williams, McCartney, Breen (Bjorklund 29), Arca; Quinn (Thirlwell 55), Healy, Whitley, Downing; Kyle (Smith 64), Stewart.
SUBS NOT USED: : Ingham, Proctor
BACK IN BLACK: Alan Butler
“It was frustrating, possibly our worst performance of the season and certainly our worst here at home. But was it a point gained or two dropped? I complained we didn’t get the rub of the green last week but perhaps we got a bit of luck today. In different circumstances – and certainly last season – I’d have been sat here with us just having been turned over.
“I’m not happy about the lack of goals at home – nobody is. It hasn’t really been a concern before today because we’ve been creating chances. But today we created very few. I could look for reasons but I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses.
“Alan Quinn did OK for the time he was on but he hasn’t played since Norwich last month, and Stewart Downing perhaps found three games in eight days too taxing. He’s been playing reserve- team football for Middlesbrough once a week and travelling for three matches in eight days is very different. It’s from those wide areas that our creativity has been coming from, so perhaps if I’m searching for reasons that’s the place to look.”
The Black Cats have scored just one goal in their last four games at the Stadium of Light and it is becoming a problem for boss Mick McCarthy.
This was a game full of perspiration but very little inspiration. In fact, there was only one clear-cut chance for the home side. It fell to Kevin Kyle and he fluffed the opportunity to end his seven-game goul drought.
… to be fair Kyle he had to feed off scraps all afternoon.
John Oster’s vision was a miss
Coventry looked sharp going forward and they worked had to deny Sunderland space as the home side enjoyed most of the possession.
Sunderland had the lion’s share of the possession but their final ball was not up to scratch.
There wasn’t enough penetration on Sunderland’s part and the home crowd’s frustration started to seep through.
Coventry came to attack and could easily have left with all three points.
Sunderland lacked their fluency of recent weeks and Coventry’s best efforts foundered on Sunderland’s solid defending.
Several times in the dying minutes City came close to scoring an unlikely equaliser.
Defeat would have been cruel on a Sunderland side which worked hard throughout, without ever finding their rhythm.
Their failure to score goals, especially at home, is turning into a real problem if they hope to keep pace with the teams chasing automatic promotion spots.
Only Julio Arca’s natural ability warmed the cockles as Sunderland fired blanks at home for the third time in their last four outings.
McCarthy is a manager who has off-loaded 23 players and fashioned a team that could win the title. Although, admittedly, not on yesterday’s showing.
Missing the suspended John Oster and starving the pacy Stewart Downing of the service he so craved, resulted in a game you would rather forget.
Stephen Warnock can thank the generosity of referee Alan Butler that he was not dismissed for a shocker of a challenge on Alan Quinn.
Scott Shearer gifted Kyle a chance he should have taken. Kyle then headed over before his substitution but it was the visitors who should have won it at the death.
People ratings: Poom 7 – Williams, Breen 6 (Bjorklund, 29mins, 7), McCartney 7, *ARCA 8, – Quinn 6 (Thirwell, 55mins, 6), Healy 7, Whitley 7, Downing 6 – Kyle 6 (Smith, 63mins, 5), Stewart 6.
Only the width of the post denied Coventry victory in a disappointing game.
…a game shaded by the visitors.
Sunderland struggled to open up Coventry and were fortunate to earn a point in the end.
Coventry enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges.
The Black Cats had to wait until the 22nd minute before their first meaningful effort.
Kevin Kyle had Sunderland’s best effort on goal in the 58th minute but Shearer pulled off a smart stop from his right-footed effort.