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FINLAY’S REPORT: Sunderland weren’t great yesterday, but the injuries made things much harder

Budding young sports journo Finlay Anderson is back to give his thoughts on Sunderland’s performance yesterday at Coventry, and concedes that the three injuries we sustained to key players during the game made an already difficult task even harder.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Well, coming away with a point from Coventry is better than losing at Coventry, I suppose.

Sunderland’s support was magnificent at the Ricoh Arena, with around 5,000 supporters in the stand behind Jon McLaughlin’s goal in the first half, and the travelling Lads fans were were joined by Stewart Donald in the stands watching the game.

We started sloppily but slowly crept into the game - it was disappointing in the third minute to see Glenn Loovens go off with an injury as Jack Ross had to change the system so early on in the match by bringing on Adam Matthews.

Just moments after that, Chris Maguire had a superb effort to put us ahead when his free-kick rattled off the right-hand post. Then, Lee Cattermole was shown a stupid yellow card, so now he will miss Tuesday night’s home match against Peterborough United.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Another blow in the first half was that Denver Hume went off with an injury in the 36th minute - I’ve been very impressed with his last two appearances against Fleetwood Town and Rochdale.

So, Bryan Oviedo came on in his place for the remainder of the match.

Looking at our opponents, I thought that Coventry City did well to keep us at bay in the first half and halted us from attacking and they slowed the game down all of the time, but the injuries didn’t help with the pace of the opening 45.

We managed to open the scoring in the 49th minute when Cattermole scored his third goal of the season after brilliant build-up play by Maguire on the right, who fed Matthews and he supplied ammunition to Cattermole, who was gifted lots of space and used that as an advantage to power us ahead.

Coventry had chances to equalise but McLaughlin kept out efforts from Clarke-Harris and Thomas.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

The hosts did eventually get their goal when Jonson Clarke-Harris touched the ball into the bottom right corner. There was no communication on who was going to get the ball and then Dujon Sterling intercepted the indecisive defending.

From there, it was almost as if they had took the foot off the gas and sat back and we pushed to score the winner and they were trying to catch us on the counter attack.

We then had a problem when Gooch pulled up with an injury and all of our substitutions had been made. Ross had to make a decision, either stick with Gooch on the field and possibly make his injury worse or take him off and play with 10 men. In the end, he stuck with Gooch and it looked like he might have ran some of the injury off.

Towards the end of the 90 minutes, we nearly lost all three points when Flanagan couldn’t clear the ball and Chaplin was one on one and the ball was touched by McLaughlin and then it was salvaged off the line by Jack Baldwin.

On Tuesday, we face Peterborough United, who are at the top of the table, so it will be a very tricky game so we must improve our defence as they didn’t look confident when in possession and when Coventry were attacking at us. Next Saturday, we play Bradford City away from home, so hopefully we can increase our points total.

Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

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