Coventry & Sunderland battle to goalless draw

26 August 2023 0 By Total Football News

Coventry and Sunderland had to settle for a point as two of last season's Championship play-off semi-finalists played out a 0-0 draw at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

It was a point that is likely to be more welcomed by the Black Cats as they continued to recover from losing their first two games of the season.

Sunderland's Anthony Patterson was the goalkeeper who was called upon more often as the Sky Blues, still adjusting to the loss of key players during the summer, made it three games unbeaten.

Sunderland began brightly, with Bradley Dack miscuing wide after working his way into a good position before Trai Hume launched a long-range effort off target.

There were no clear openings, however, with the final pass lacking from both teams, although Kasey Palmer's through ball meant for Matty Godden required Patterson to quickly come off his line and gather.

A ricochet from Ben Sheaf's shot then presented half an opening for Godden, but he could not get any power on his effort and Patterson saved easily.

It was one of the few occasions either goalkeeper was called upon as chances remained at a premium, with defences very much on top.

An opening was finally fashioned by Coventry in the 44th minute when the ball was played through for Ellis Simms and the former Everton striker was denied by the legs of Patterson.

Both sides were hoping for more after a tepid first half, however, and it was Sunderland who made a lively start to the second as they worked Coventry keeper Ben Wilson for the first time after 49 minutes.

Dan Neil's shot from just outside the area was parried out as far as Dennis Cirkin, who also found his route to goal blocked by Wilson.

Palmer then tried to force a breakthrough for the Sky Blues at the other end, but his shot on the turn from the edge of the box never looked like finding the target.

There was a much better tempo to the game now, though, and Palmer looked sharp again during a good run into the Sunderland area, only to shoot tamely at Patterson.

A raft of substitutions from both sides unfortunately hurt the flow, but Sheaf tried to seize the initiative for Coventry as he snatched a shot from outside the area wide.

Two of the Sky Blues' substitutes then combined for the clearest opening of the match after 79 minutes as debutant Yasin Ayari, on loan from Brighton, played the ball through for Haji Wright, who was denied by a fine save from Patterson.

The managers

Coventry's Mark Robins:

"Across the backline, I thought we were outstanding. When we needed to, we threw bodies in front of it - I think Milan (Van Ewijk) has had his best game, Jay Dasilva has been really good today, Kyle McFadzean was a joke throwing himself in front of things.

"Then on the flip side of it, we've played some really good football. We got through them, we got into wide areas, they sat deep and tried to play on the counter-attack against us - they had three players there to try and break out at any given moment, and that's why they're dangerous."

Sunderland's Tony Mowbray:

"The game panned out a little bit differently to what I thought. I thought we would come here and dominate possession, like we did last year against them, and they were good first half with the ball.

"I was disappointed at half-time and we readjusted a few things and I thought we were better in the second half. We got into some good positions and just the final ball wasn't quite there today, as we can say in most of the games this season."

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