Reports on social media said Coventry fans surged towards the barriers separating the two sets of supporters, and some of the Sunderland contingent responded.
There were also reports of the fleet of coaches which were waiting for Sunderland supporters outside the away end being pelted with rocks.
It is believed the game was classed as Category A-, which means it wasnt a high risk fixture, even though Sunderland had the backing of 5,000 fans.
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Some messages on social media blame Sunderland fans for inciting the trouble, for apparently threatening to damage a statue of Coventry legend Jimmy Hill.
The late club chairman was unpopular with older supporters, who blamed him for their relegation from Division One in 1977.
But many others say the West Midlands Police were to blame for yesterdays ugly scenes for not employing a holdback policy, of allowing home fans to disperse before letting the visitors out.
Carol Atkins (@carolatkins2): “It was a really stupid decision letting both (sets of) fans out at same time. We got stuck In the middle of it all with my granddaughter. Policing today was a joke.” She added: “The worst one was the Sunderland dad who had took his lad for his first awayday and had parked by the casino. Asked which way to go when he came out and was pointed right into all the trouble. Poor lad was terrified!” Steve Strong (@swadsteve): “I had to meet my stepdad outside, whos a Sunderland fan, and we both had to walk right into that brawl. I ended up pulling him away from the trouble when I seen him walking through the middle of it. The police were too busy shouting at people to notice what was going off.” Keelan Murray (@keelanmurray1): “Absolute hell on outside the ground. Coventry fans boxing Sunderland fans in throwing bricks and all sorts. Shocking by the police.” Sunderland supporter Lewis H (@lawis_h__) tweeted: “Coventry fans started throwing rocks off the buses and fans after they (?) the barrier as we came out the stadium.” Simon Hetherington: “It was ridiculous, funnelling fans into one small space to get towards the train station at the side of the coaches. Right where all the bother was happening.” Nick Robbo (@Nick_Robbo90): “If away fans were held back so home fans could disperse it would be effective in preventing trouble. Shocking to allow the Sunderland fans leave at the same time as City fans.” Leighann Brooks (@leighann100169): “There should have been large screens up instead of just the barriers (like the crash ones they used on motorways) that way there would have been no goading from either side. Disgusting behaviour.”
Jack Ross was left indebted to one of his Scottish summer signings after his side drew 1-1 with Coventry at the Ricoh Arena.
Keeper Jon McLaughlin pulled off a tremendous late save from Conor Chaplin, allowing his defenders to then clear and preserve a point. After a season of goalkeeping misery in the Championship, Sunderland fans finally have someone solid they can depend on in goal.
The 31-year old arrived from Heart of Midlothian in the summer and Ross was quick to pour praise on his match-saving hero, as the Sunderland Echo reports.
“In that last period the game was very end-to-end and our keeper made two or three outstanding saves in that period.”
Of McLaughlin’s overall form, Ross was keen to reiterate how much he coveted the keeper in the summer and obviously, how delighted he has been with the return.
“I dont want to downplay it and say it was just what I expected – but it is! He is one of the early ones that I identified and fought quite hard for him to come, not because I wasnt supported, but because of where we were as a club at that time.”
The Edinburgh-born stopper started out with Harrogate Town before playing almost 300 games in England, predominately in League Two with Bradford City, but also for Burton as they achieved successive promotions.
After time with Bradford and Burton Albion, McLaughlin knows the English game well, but he’s still settled very quickly in the north east.
His former club are currently top of the Scottish Premier League and hoping to mount a title challenge, but if he helps get Sunderland promoted it will be a massive achievement in itself.