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ON THE WHISTLE ANALYSIS: Reacting to Coventry 1-1 Sunderland; One win in Five, is it concerning?

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Ken Spours gives his reaction to Sunderland’s draw at Coventry on the way back home from the match and poses the question: is 1 win in 5 a concern or not?

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Both teams cancel each other out in a stalemate first half

The first half was a scrappy affair, marked only by Maguire’s free kick against the post and two Sunderland injuries. Loovens was off early with a hamstring injury and replaced by Matthews.

Later, Hume jolted his knee and was replaced by Oviedo.

During the first period the Lads showed flashes of promise with Cattermole and McGeoch breaking up Coventry play, but the mid-field found it difficult to get play going.

Maja was often isolated and this would not be his day.

Sunderland AFC

Sunderland took the lead but could not kill the game

Second half was much more open and either team could have won it.

Cattermole landed the first blow with a strike following great build-up play on the right, but Sunderland were not able to build on this and Coventry responded bringing out great saves from McLaughlin.

Even he was not able to keep out Coventry’s Clarke-Harris who lashed home a shot in the 68th minute.

Unlike last week, Sunderland were not able to kill the game with a second goal and found their backs against the wall.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

But they showed great spirit in reply to the Coventry goal

Sunderland responded well and Oviedo and Honeyman could have regained the lead with shots that brought out great saves from the Coventry keeper.

But, it was the home team that could have nicked it in the final minutes following a mistake by Flanagan.

The Lads, however, suffered a third injury. This time Gooch appeared to have strained his hamstring. Having made three substitutions, Ross was compelled to keep on the field. Let’s hope that this did not result in a more serious injury.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Resilience came at a high cost

This was another resilient performance by Sunderland against a good Coventry side, but they paid a high cost - not only the three injuries with another match in three days, but also the consequences of another Cattermole yellow card.

Lee Cattermole was both hero and villain. The hero was commanding in midfield, scored the all-important goal and was rightly awarded Sky Sports Man of the Match.

The villain managed to get booked for repeated fouling and now faces a ban, meaning he will not play on Tuesday.

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How do you read Sunderland’s form?

Sunderland fans face a half-empty, half-full dilemma.

The half-empty analysis will point to the fact that the Lads have only one win out of their five recent matches.

Even though they are still in the top group, they are currently trapped in mid-table performances. The problem remains the way to sustain the high pressing and rapid passing game that has proved so devastating against Rochdale, Gillingham and Scunthorpe.

The half-full perspective points to the fact the team have learned how to avoid conceding early on, look dangerous going forward, always score and the team and club are clearly work in progress.

The issue will be learning from resilient performances and how to use the depth of the squad to step up a gear.

Sunderland are very good at avoiding defeat, they’ve just got to become better at putting in the winning performances that can take them into automatic promotion position.