A hard-fought opening day victory for the Sky Blues came after Daryl Murphy had given Sunderland the lead early in the second-half, sliding the ball home after an earlier shot had appeared to strike a home defender’s hand.
The Black Cats had a decent early chance after Marcus Hall was caught napping from a throw-in but City came back well, with Stern John going close before forcing a smart save from Ben Alnwick just before half-time.
After Murphy’s goal, City threw on Don Hutchison for the ineffective Dele Adebola and the veteran Scot made a difference with his ability to hold up the ball.
John curled in a superb equaliser, a ‘world-class’ finish according to Sunderland manager Niall Quinn who was less than pleased by his side switching off from a free-kick seven minutes later, leading to McSheffrey firing in by the aid of a deflection.
Most reports of the game had City down as deserved winners, the Daily Mirror saying: ‘The size of the challenge in front of Quinn was hammered home when Stern John and Gary McSheffrey earned the Sky Blues a victory they undoubtedly deserved.’
The Sun commented: ‘ The Wearsiders were perhaps unlucky to leave the Midlands empty-handed as they did enough to earn at least a point.’
The Newcastle Journal report claimed: ‘A Coventry team lacking in class came from behind to inflict a defeat that left Quinn, his players and more than 2,500 travelling supporters deflated.’
Micky Adams on Gary McSheffrey’s future
‘Gary was brilliant today, a real threat who was full of running forward and back, put in some great crosses and scored a good goal as well.
‘I’ve read that Birmingham are going to come back in for him but hopefully they will understand we don’t want to sell.
‘Every player has a price, but where will I find someone to replace Gary?’
Sunderland manager Niall Quinn
‘Stern John’s goal was world class and you can do very little about something like that.
‘From the free-kick for their second we were caught napping. That’s a glitch we had last season and has cost us dear again. It’s something we can work on.
‘But I do not want that to take away from our performance which was full of enthusiasm and for the most part, I think we outplayed Coventry.’