Coventry and their manager Mark Robins condemned alleged racist abuse aimed at midfielder Kasey Palmer in the closing stages of the Sky Blues’ 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday.

Owner Doug King said the club will support Palmer, a Jamaican international, following the incident, while Robins urged the perpetrators to “grow up”.

King said: “We completely condemn the abuse aimed at Kasey today and will support him following this incident.

“There is no place for this in football or society and we support Sheffield Wednesday and the authorities in taking the strongest possible action.”

Robins said after the game: “Obviously there has been a ridiculous few people that have decided to do whatever they’ve done.

“They’ve made some racist remarks or comments and that should be dealt with. Hopefully they will get it on camera and they will deal with them. There’s just no place for it. It’s ridiculous in this day and age. Just grow up!”

Sheffield Wednesday also released a statement saying the club were “shocked and saddened” by the alleged incident.

“We will work together with the relevant authorities and anyone proven to be culpable will face the strictest possible sanctions from both Sheffield Wednesday and the law,” it read.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with Coventry and the football world in stamping out this abhorrent and wholly unacceptable behaviour.”

Chairman Dejphon Chansiri said: “We absolutely condemn the abuse reported by Kasey Palmer today and stand together with Coventry in our clear stance that there is no place in football or society for such appalling behaviour.”

Speaking after the game, Owls boss Danny Rohl said of the allegations: “Maybe there were some words. It is important that the club speak now with the referee and then make a statement so that we can say exactly what happens.

“This is important and we will do this as a club.”

Meanwhile, Robins singled out Ben Sheaf’s performance after the Coventry skipper scored twice in the win, with Josh Windass notching for the Owls.

“You know it’s a tough game with the way they set out to play,” he said. “We’ve come out of it on the right end of a good scoreline and I think there have been some brilliant performances within it.

“I think Ben Sheaf was outstanding – not just the goals that he scored – it was an all-action performance from him. He broke play up and got us moving forwards. The goals were outstanding, particularly the first one.

“He’s arrived in the penalty area and there was a player that I played with that looked exactly like that and it was Bryan Robson. I thought he was absolutely outstanding today.

“We’ve had some good performances throughout.

“We could have had one or two more if we’d have picked the right pass. Essentially, we’ve kept a really spirited team at arm’s length.”

Sheffield Wednesday manager Danny Rohl expressed his disappointment at the result.

“I think the first half was a game between two boxers. We pressed and had some good moments but then sometimes we missed the smart pass into the final third,” he said.

“We played against a strong team who are on a good run at the moment. We conceded a second goal that was not necessary.

“I wanted to make a signal, which was why I made four substitutions immediately.

“We came back with a goal and had a good chance for Bailey (Cadamarteri) for an equaliser.

“It is a long, long way until the end of the season. We have to fight until the end.”

Skipper Ben Sheaf scored twice as Coventry claimed a 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday to strengthen their bid for a play-off place.

Owls manager Danny Rohl made four changes to his starting line-up following last week’s 4-0 defeat at Southampton, with new signing James Beadle, on loan from Brighton, making his debut in goal.

Coventry, who began the day unbeaten in their last nine games, were unchanged.

Beadle was called into action in the early stages, getting down to his left to save a shot from Callum O’Hare, before Milan van Ewijk sent in a low cross which just evaded Matt Godden.

The visitors took the lead five minutes before the break when Josh Eccles found Sheaf and he slipped the ball past his marker before firing into the roof of the net.

Wednesday’s Barry Bannan spotted goalkeeper Brad Collins off his line shortly after the restart but his lobbed effort went over the crossbar.

Liam Palmer also had a shot which was blocked for the hosts.

Sheaf scored his second of the afternoon in the 57th minute. Tatsuhiro Sakamoto saw his shot saved by Beadle and the ball fell to Sheaf who turned it into the net from the edge of the six-yard box.

Rohl made four changes just after the hour, with Anthony Musaba, Akin Famewo, Ike Ugbo and Bailey Cadamarteri all coming on.

Josh Windass forced a save from Collins at his near post before pulling a goal back.

Marvin Johnson’s cross caused problems for the Coventry defence, Musaba’s weak header was easily saved and then Windass fired the loose ball into the net.

Substitute Ellis Simms threatened to restore City’s two-goal lead with a shot from a tight angle which went beyond the far post.

As Wednesday desperately battled to get back on level terms there was a goalmouth scramble which ended with the visitors managing to get the ball to safety.

Boss Mark Robins underlined Coventry’s determination to keep star man Callum O’Hare after he inspired the Sky Blues to a stunning late victory over Leicester.

The midfielder netted twice as the hosts scored three goals in the final 11 minutes to beat the 10-man Foxes 3-1.

O’Hare levelled before Milan van Ewijk fired Coventry ahead with two minutes left and then added a third in stoppage time.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s penalty gave Leicester the lead but Abdul Fatawu’s red card in first-half injury time gave Coventry the impetus.

O’Hare’s deal expires in the summer and Robins insisted the club will do everything they can to keep him, with the O’Hare having recovered from a serious knee injury.

Robins said: “You’ve got to wait for that. We can only do so much but we will 100 per cent want to keep him. Whatever happens it won’t be for the want of trying or not wanting to do it from our part.

“Looking at characteristics of people in teams, he epitomises what we want to do. He is brave, goes after things, a good communicator, an effervescent character and has added goalscoring to it.

“He deserves all the plaudits he gets. We missed him greatly.

“I thought we were brilliant. It was one of the best performances we’ve had this season, in many seasons. You have to understand how good the opponent is and then pick the bones out of the performance.

“Even with 11 v 11 we were outstanding.”

The leaders slipped to a first defeat in 11 league games after the Sky Blues’ grandstand finish.

Coventry dominated for long spells – Tatsuhiro Sakamoto hitting the post early – but fell behind a minute before the break.

Van Ewijk lost possession and Bobby Thomas caught Dewsbury-Hall, despite winning the ball first, as he attempted to recover the situation.

Dewsbury-Hall converted from the spot but the Foxes were soon down to 10 men when Fatawu recklessly clattered into Jake Bidwell for a straight red.

Matty Godden headed at Mads Hermansen but Coventry had to wait until 11 minutes from time to start their comeback.

Ellis Simms and Jay Dasilva combined for O’Hare to roll into the corner and van Ewijk put the Sky Blues ahead with two minutes left, firing in from the edge of the box after Leicester failed to clear a corner.

O’Hare then wrapped up the victory when he volleyed in from close range after Godden’s shot was blocked.

Leicester boss Enzo Maresca said: “We played two games, the first half was one and the second half was another.

“The red card changed the game completely. Abdul is very young, he needs to learn many things – in some moments you need to be more calm.

“It’s part of his process and he has to improve many things, at 1-0 up he tried to recover the ball not with the right thing. It happens.

“I feel proud when we win, win, win but today I feel more proud. We continued to play, fight and we didn’t concede important chances until the goal. It’s part of the game, with so many games it can happen.”

Coventry’s sensational late show stunned leaders Leicester as the 10-man Foxes were deservedly beaten.

Callum O’Hare’s double and Milan van Ewijk’s goal fired the Sky Blues to a 3-1 win.

O’Hare’s 79th-minute strike hauled them level, after Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s controversial penalty gave the visitors the lead, before the midfielder netted late following van Ewijk’s effort two minutes from time.

The Sky Blues were furious about the penalty but were given hope by Abdul Fatawu’s red card in first-half stoppage time.

Leicester slipped to a first defeat in 11 Championship games with Coventry maintaining their play-off challenge.

Beforehand, both clubs condemned those who had hung banners on the M69 mocking the death of former owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and abusing Leicester fans.

The hosts had lost just once since December, a seven-match unbeaten run pushing them to the brink of the play-offs and the Sky Blues took that confidence to go at Leicester early, coming close after six minutes.

The busy O’Hare won the ball back for Tatsuhiro Sakamoto and the winger jinked past James Justin and Mads Hermansen turned his drive onto the post.

A minute before Matty Godden curled at Hermansen while Kasey Palmer drilled wide soon after with the Foxes yet to get going.

Leicester last lost in November, successive defeats to Leeds and Middlesbrough, and had dropped just four points since yet they were unnerved by Coventry’s bustling approach.

Godden’s deflected effort skidded wide as the Sky Blues continued to press, only for Leicester to issue a warning 10 minutes before half time.

Good work from Dewsbury-Hall saw the Foxes break and when the midfielder swapped passes with Stephy Mavididi he teed up Cesare Casadei, only for the forward to slide his shot inches wide.

O’Hare then had his own chance but failed to get a connection before late drama at the end of the half.

Van Ewijk lost possession and allowed Dewsbury-Hall to chase, Bobby Thomas came steaming in and, while he won the ball, the defender caught the Leicester man with the follow through.

Referee Darren England pointed to the spot and Dewsbury-Hall sent Brad Collins the wrong way after 44 minutes.

If the visitors thought they would then see out the half with few problems they were mistaken when Fatawu – who had earlier been warned to calm down by Wout Faes – cleaned out Jake Bidwell in stoppage time and was instantly shown a red card.

Coventry tried to capitalise and Godden wasted a fine chance, heading van Ewijk’s cross at Hermansen 10 minutes into the second half.

Leicester carried little threat and it was up to Coventry to break them down but Mark Robins’ men struggled for inspiration, despite the man advantage, until O’Hare struck with 11 minutes left.

Substitutes Ellis Simms and Jay Dasilva combined to set up O’Hare for the midfielder to curl in low from 12 yards.

Coventry went chasing victory and went ahead in the 88th minute when Sakamoto’s corner was only cleared to van Ewijk on the edge of the box and he found the bottom corner.

There was still time for O’Hare to volley in a third in stoppage time to cap the comeback.

West Midlands Police have removed offensive banners aimed at Leicester’s late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha placed on the motorway ahead of the Foxes’ clash with Coventry.

Several photos emerged on social media displaying messages which were put up on the M69, which Leicester fans will use to travel to the game, ahead of the Championship derby encounter on Saturday lunchtime.

Some banners showed images of helicopters alongside offensive messages to mock Srivaddhanaprabha, who died in a helicopter crash alongside four others shortly after taking off from the King Power Stadium in September 2018.

After West Midlands Police were notified of the offensive banners, they were taken down from the motorway and the force warned fans about the relevant legislation.

Coventry City FC Police, a force unit for West Midlands Police, posted on X: “I was hoping there wouldn’t be a need however I feel the minority, I stress minority need a timely reminder. There is legislation in place that covers tragedy chanting, including the displaying of offensive banners.”

Both clubs were quick to condemn the abuse and will work with the police to find out who created them and take action, including bans for anyone found to be involved.

Coventry issued a statement on X, formerly Twitter, which read: “Coventry City completely condemns incidents today which have seen banners being displayed containing offensive content directed at Leicester City Football Club.

“Coventry City will work with West Midlands Police to identify those who created and displayed these banners, and take appropriate action against them.

“Such behaviour has no place in football or society, and these people are not welcome at our Football Club and will be subject to bans.”

A Leicester spokesman said: “The football club notes with disappointment the disrespectful actions of a minority of opposition supporters, mocking the tragic events that deeply affected our club and community.

“Such behaviour stands in contrast to the values of respect and unity that football should embody.

“We are grateful to Coventry City Football Club and the wider football community who stand with us in condemning these actions and brought this incident to the attention of the relevant authorities. We will work with all parties to support the identification and appropriate response to those involved.”

It is not the first time that banners have been used to mock the rival fan base in the ‘M69 derby’ after some Leicester fans displayed banners on the same motorway following their 2-1 victory over Coventry in August.

Mark Robins praised the quality of his Coventry side after they blew away League One Oxford 6-2 in the FA Cup third round.

Joel Latibeaudiere, Ben Sheaf and Kasey Palmer’s goals were followed by a brace from Matty Godden as Coventry made it through to the fourth round for just the second time in six seasons.

Mark Harris had earlier equalised to make the score 1-1 before Tyler Goodrham’s consolation late in the piece.

“I thought we were really good, we did a really professional job,” said Robins. “There was some unbelievable quality there.

“The goals came at a good time and we sort of blew them away in the first bit. What we didn’t do well enough at times was that you’ve got to make them feel the speed and the quality.

“You’ve got to try and make them feel that all of the time. On the back of the games we’ve played, it is understandable that there is a little bit of fatigue left over but that’s not an excuse.

“You’ve got to give everything you’ve got until you can’t anymore and then I can make the changes.

“But other than that, I thought there were some good rotations, some good movement in all areas of the pitch.

“The quality of Kasey (Palmer) showed for the third goal, both in terms of picking the ball up and driving with it, and then picking that shot out, was Kas-esque, exactly what he can do.

“3-1 makes it a little bit more comfortable but we’ve got to keep going for the jugular and that was the only frustrating bit because we seemed a little bit content to ‘tick’ the ball over, which is fine, but we’ve got to make sure we keep going for the jugular, keep going for the goals.”

Oxford head coach Des Buckingham admitted his team had been beaten by the better side as they were knocked out at the third-round stage for the second season in succession.

Buckingham also provided an update on winger Stanley Mills, who was taken off on a stretcher following a serious-looking injury.

He said: “I think we’ve come to a very good Coventry City side, they’re top of the form table in the Championship and they’re a strong team.

“They ran away with it in the second half. That’s the quality they have. We’ve got to be better, of course, but we’ve got to recognise where they are and where we are and what we’ve got available at the moment.

“Not the result we wanted. It’s never a scoreline you want to see. But we’ve got to refocus quickly now for AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday and we will do.

“There’s no surprise that since the draw’s been made they’ve gone from 15th to eighth. They will certainly be in and around it.

“It gives us a taste of what Championship football is. We’re not a million miles away, I know the scoreline makes it look silly to say that.

“Our focus and our priority is the league and we need to make sure we’re as good as we can be heading into the second half of the season.

“Stan is in the best hands he can be, the medical staff have been wonderful and really looked after him. He’s been taken off to hospital and he’s got his dad with him, we hope he’s OK but it’s too soon to say.”

Matty Godden scored a brace as Championship Coventry thrashed League One Oxford 6-2 at the CBS Arena in the FA Cup third round.

The substitute followed up early strikes by Joel Latibeaudiere and Ben Sheaf, while Kasey Palmer’s thunderbolt made it 3-1.

Callum O’Hare’s second-half penalty made it 4-1 to the hosts who are through to the fourth round for just the second time in six seasons, with Mark Harris and Tyler Goodrham on the scoresheet for Des Buckingham’s side.

A frantic opening saw four goals in the space of eight first-half minutes, sparked by Latibeaudiere’s near-post header.

Coventry enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the early exchanges but Oxford were level almost instantly when Harris latched on to Palmer’s mistake and a wicked deflection off Luis Binks took his effort past a helpless Ben Wilson.

The 1987 FA Cup winners were back ahead even quicker than they had been pegged back when Ellis Simms powerfully drove to the byline before squaring for Sheaf to slam home his second of the season.

Palmer then gave the Sky Blues daylight when he picked up the ball inside the Oxford half before uncorking a 30-yard rocket into the top corner to round off an exhilarating first 17 minutes.

The U’s went out of the cup at the same stage last year after a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal and could have found themselves further behind when Simms blazed over after outmuscling a U’s defender, whilst Milan van Ewijk’s free-kick cleared the crossbar.

Mark Robins, who won the FA Cup as a player with Manchester United in 1990, could have seen his side go three goals to the good immediately after the interval when Palmer played in O’Hare, but he was thwarted by Simon Eastwood.

O’Hare was given a second chance to give the Sky Blues the three-goal lead they deserved after Ciaron Brown fouled Palmer before Coventry’s talismanic midfielder made no mistake as he sent Eastwood the wrong way from the spot.

Palmer was at the heart of all of Coventry’s attacking play and created the Sky Blues’ next chance for Jake Bidwell, who slid his effort past a post.

Oxford, backed by around 3,000 fans in the West Midlands, sensed hope when Goodrham picked out the bottom corner from the edge of the box, but that hope was dashed soon after as Godden entered the fray.

First, he took down Jamie Allen’s lay-off and bent an effort into the far corner before picking out the same corner with his left foot five minutes later to finish off the rout and book Coventry’s place in the fourth-round draw.

Mark Robins is delighted to see Tatsuhiro Sakamoto now delivering on the promise he has shown since joining Coventry after continuing his rich recent scoring form with a brace in City’s 3-1 comeback win at Middlesbrough.

Sakamoto joined Coventry from Oostende last summer, but the Japanese winger failed to score in his first 13 matches for the club.

His performance levels were good though, and Robins always felt it was only a matter of time before things started clicking for the 27-year-old in front of goal.

Sure enough, Sakamoto has now netted five times in his last four matches, with his double at the Riverside helping to secure a win that lifted Coventry to within three points of the play-off places in the Sky Bet Championship.

Robins said: “He’s been really good, and the confidence is coming. We’ve been waiting for it. He’s got the ability, and now he’s got the confidence and belief too.

“That’s really good for us, and really good for him. He also creates. He’s technically outstanding, and to get through the games that he has done is a real credit to him.”

Sakamoto won two international caps in 2021, but was not named in the Japan squad for the upcoming Asian Cup, meaning he can continue to play for Coventry this month.

That is a relief to Robins, although if the winger continues to perform as he has in the last few weeks, an international recall could well be in the offing.

Robins said: “They’ve got some really good players. The Japanese are outstanding, you could see that in the World Cup last year.

“They’ve got some excellent players, and there’s more and more of them playing in Europe and the UK. Tatsu is a brilliant outlet for us, and you can see the connections that are being made and that he’s starting to form. That’s pleasing for us for the second half of the season.”

Middlesbrough were without 13 senior players because of injury or call-ups to either the Asian Cup or Africa Cup of Nations, and having established a first-half lead through Josh Coburn, Michael Carrick admitted his side ran out of steam as Coventry dominated in the second half.

Carrick said: “I think it’s understandable. It felt like the tank just emptied at the wrong time for us today, in terms of their energy.

“I can’t fault them. It’s such a small pool of players we’ve had to pick from a patch-up game to game over recent weeks. It probably just caught up with us at the wrong time today because first half I thought we were fantastic.

“I thought we played some fabulous football and should have, could have, been up at half-time. In the end, they are a good team, they’re dangerous and they’re on a good run as well.”

Coventry’s climb towards the Sky Bet Championship play-off places continued as they claimed a 3-1 win at Middlesbrough.

The Sky Blues beat Boro in last season’s play-off semi-finals, and they enjoyed another successful day at the Riverside thanks to a double from the in-form Tatsuhiro Sakamoto and a close-range finish from Haji Wright.

Josh Coburn opened the scoring for Middlesbrough in the first half, but the hosts were unable to make the most of their early superiority as Coventry stretched their unbeaten run to seven matches.

Middlesbrough went into the game on the back of a morale-boosting win at Huddersfield on Friday night, and Michael Carrick’s side dominated the early exchanges, carving out a succession of good chances.

Isaiah Jones must have thought he had scored when he raced on to Morgan Rogers’ fourth-minute through ball and rounded goalkeeper Brad Collins, but while his shot from an acute angle was heading in, back-tracking centre-half Bobby Thomas produced a superb flicked clearance as he raced towards his own goalline.

Jones had another decent effort blocked by Jake Bidwell a few minutes later, before Collins denied Sam Greenwood with a scrambled save down to his left. The ball broke to Rogers, but his follow-up effort was blocked by a combination of the Coventry goalkeeper and Luis Binks.

It felt like only a matter of time before Boro scored, and the deadlock was duly broken in the 31st minute.

Jones crossed from the right-hand side, and having been restored to the starting line-up after scoring as a substitute at Huddersfield, Coburn made it two goals in four days with a powerful header.

Coventry had not threatened at all at that stage, but just four minutes after falling behind, the visitors struck back to equalise.

Thomas’ header from a corner was saved by Tom Glover, but Lukas Engel’s clearance only found Sakamoto, and the Japanese winger threaded a fine low finish through a crowded box.

Collins made good saves from Greenwood and Engel to keep the scores level at the break, and Coventry should have claimed the lead when Ellis Simms hooked over from the edge of the six-yard box in the early stages of the second half.

A minute later, however, and the Sky Blues were celebrating making it 2-1. Simms’ shot from Callum O’Hare’s cross was saved by Glover, but when the ball rebounded to the striker, he slipped a square pass to Wright, who was left with the simple task of tapping home from close range.

Coventry were much the better side in the second half, and they added a third goal in the 69th minute.

Bidwell crossed from close to the byline, and Sakamoto stole in at the back post to net his second goal of the game with a close-range header.

Sakamoto almost claimed a hat-trick with 10 minutes remaining, but his low shot from inside the area cannoned against the base of the post.

Swansea interim head coach Alan Sheehan was proud of his side after Liam Cullen’s last-gasp free-kick earned a 2-2 draw at Coventry.

Liam Walsh had put Swansea ahead in the seventh minute before they were pegged back by Haji Wright.

Ellis Simms then fired the Sky Blues in front before Cullen’s superb free-kick in the third minute of added time.

The point came after the Swans had been hammered 5-0 by former head coach Russell Martin and Southampton on Boxing Day.

Sheehan said: “We had to hang in there at times but how we finished the last 10-15 minutes I really liked and I think we deserved a point.

“They just kept on fighting and that’s the proudest thing I can say about them.

“We wanted a response, a lot of things have gone against us in the last couple of days in terms of the result, sickness running through the camp with a lot of lads up all night sick.

“The manner of the goals conceded is incredibly disappointing but for large amounts of the first half I saw a team that I really like watching.

“We just wanted a reaction, to draw a line under it, show how we get better, can we start building a structure? I thought for large amounts of the first half and as we went into the second you saw a real identity to what we wanted to do today.”

Swansea have been without a head coach since Michael Duff was sacked on December 4, as Sheehan took charge of his sixth match.

He added: “They’re looking for the right person. Different clubs do it different and they appoint straight away but there’s a lot of people interested in this job.

“I think it’s very important the club and board get the right person to drive this club forward.

“I’m enjoying it, it’s hard and a really difficult time in terms of travelling and time away from family, a lot of sacrifices but I believe our work has been meticulous and we at least deserved a point for that.”

Despite the last-gasp equaliser, which prevented Coventry from making it three straight wins, manager Mark Robins claimed that it was a point gained for the Sky Blues.

“You don’t gain anything until the final whistle, so we’ve gained a point,” said Robins.

“The goal was poor, the wall was not set quite right, there was too much of a gap there and he just played it through it.

“We’ve played pretty well, at times we’ve had some good moves, created good chances, took some really good chances and then just maybe a little bit more concentration sees us through.

“We didn’t have enough control in the game for the last five minutes or so, there were times in the game where we did and we started to get on top and we got our noses in front.

“We conceded the goal early on but the reply was really quick, a really incisive move and a really good finish from Haji.

“The second half was too open but then the changes that I made had an impact.

“We’re disappointed that we’ve conceded that goal. Firstly the free-kick in the first place and then letting them have the gap to hit the corner.

“It was a consequence of the weight of the pressure because we didn’t get hold of the ball in the front area which allowed them to keep picking it up and keep coming at us, so that’s frustrating.

“They’ve worked really hard, the third game in a really short space of time and we were a couple of minutes away from three points.”

Liam Cullen’s stoppage-time free-kick earned managerless Swansea a 2-2 draw at Coventry.

The Swans had earlier been ahead through Liam Walsh’s first goal in almost four years, before Haji Wright and Ellis Simms put Coventry 2-1 in front.

Swansea had been thrashed 5-0 by former head coach Russell Martin and Southampton on Boxing Day, but Cullen fired in a last-gasp set-piece to give his side a hard-fought point.

Former Coventry loanee Walsh put Swansea ahead in the seventh minute after he latched onto a poor touch from Jamie Allen and picked out the bottom corner, his first strike since scoring for the Sky Blues in January 2020.

It was just the ninth goal that Coventry had conceded at home this season.

They were ahead for just three minutes before Wright was played in by former Swansea loanee Kasey Palmer.

The American was confronted by Bashir Humphreys, but shifted the ball onto his left foot before arrowing his effort into the far corner beyond Carl Rushworth.

Palmer’s powerful effort was then tipped over by Rushworth in the Swansea goal before his free-kick cleared the crossbar.

Swansea had been without a permanent boss since December 4 and interim head coach Alan Sheehan handed a senior debut to 17-year-old Sam Palmer, who almost teed up Yannick Bolasie to put the Swans ahead but he could only lift over the bar with his outstretched right foot from close range.

Walsh also came close to putting Swansea ahead when he forced Brad Collins to palm away his free-kick.

Japan international Tatsuhiro Sakamoto scored a brace in Coventry’s 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day and saw his effort blocked on the line following a clever corner routine as Coventry looked to get their noses in front.

Simms had been introduced as a substitute and scored his first goal at home for Coventry to put the hosts ahead with 25 minutes remaining.

Callum O’Hare picked out Wright at the back post and his looping header looked goalbound before Simms poked in to net his first goal since September when the former Everton striker netted a brace against QPR at Loftus Road.

Cullen had also been introduced from the bench and stepped up in the third minute of added time to whip his free-kick into the bottom corner from the edge of the box, extending Swansea’s unbeaten run against the Sky Blues to 17 matches, dating back to 1981.

Coventry manager Mark Robins was left fuming with the decision to send off Liam Kitching, which took some of the shine off his side’s 2-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday.

Kitching was shown a red card after the final whistle at the Coventry Building Society Arena after referee Oliver Langford judged him to have retaliated to being pushed by Wednesday’s Bambo Diaby, who was also sent off.

That controversial incident came after two goals from Tatsuhiro Sakamoto had guided the Sky Blues to their second straight win in the festive period.

Robins said: “I didn’t see what had happened, but I’ve seen it back now and I’m appealing that.

“There’s no way he can be sent off for that, no way.

“The kid’s come from behind him and it’s assault; he’s pushed him in his face, so where does he go?

“He can’t go anywhere because he’s come into his space, so he (Diaby) has pushed him, he’s then stuck his head on his head and Kitch hasn’t reacted.

“Whether he’s put his hands up to stop it, I don’t know, but it’s an attack, it’s ridiculous and then he’s come back for seconds, so 100 per cent I’m appealing it. I’m furious.

“What happened at the end can sort of detract from a performance that was actually pretty good.

“Two brilliant goals, well worked and well finished and Tatsu’s been doing that, he’s been growing in confidence, he’s taking shots now.”

It was a slightly scuffed finish with which Sakamoto gave Coventry the lead after 20 minutes when he was picked out by Haji Wright’s cut-back.

The Japan international sealed the points in the 89th minute with a fine finish past Cameron Dawson, not long before tempers boiled over following the end of the game.

Sheffield Wednesday boss Danny Rohl said: “I think it was a fair-play game, there were not bad fouls or anything like this.

“It’s a hard decision, for both a red card after the game, but it’s the decision from the ref and we can’t change it.

“This is football but it’s not helpful for us at the moment because we’ve now got Callum (Paterson) out for the next games and Bambo out for the next games.

“I tried everything to bring some fresh legs in, but this is what our situation is at the moment, this is what we’ve been handed and it’s about preparing for our next game (at Preston), recovery and then going again.”

On his side’s performance, Rohl added: “I think you saw two different halves.

“First half, Coventry was the better team. We were not clinical in our transition in the first half, but in the second half I think we dominated the game.”

Japan international Tatsuhiro Sakamoto struck both goals as Coventry continued to rise up the Sky Bet Championship standings with a 2-0 win over struggling Sheffield Wednesday.

Although the Sky Blues remain in mid-table, they now find themselves just three points behind the play-off places following their third win in five games unbeaten.

While Mark Robins’ side are looking upwards in hope, the Owls do so in desperation after Huddersfield’s victory over Blackburn left them eight points adrift of safety.

The match got off to a scrappy opening with neither team able to keep hold of the ball for sustained periods.

The flow wasn’t helped by an unfortunate head injury to Wednesday forward Callum Paterson and it was while he was about to be substituted off that Coventry took the lead in the 20th minute.

It was USA international Haji Wright who pulled the ball back from the left for Sakamoto, and although his shot was not the cleanest it found the bottom corner.

The opening goal of the game actually came from its first effort, a feat the Owls could not replicate when Marvin Johnson shot tamely at Brad Collins after working himself into space.

The best chance the visitors had to draw level before half-time was when Johnson was given plenty of time to cross, only for George Byers to miscue his header off target.

Sakamoto had an opportunity to double his and Coventry’s tally seven minutes after the restart when he shot wide from just outside the area after Josh Eccles’ corner was cleared his way.

Wednesday managed to ride out what was a bright start to the second half by the Sky Blues and they really should have equalised after 64 minutes when substitutes Anthony Musaba and Ashley Fletcher both had efforts from point-blank range blocked.

The hosts then had a great opportunity to put clear daylight between themselves and the Owls when Eccles played in a fine cross that was headed wide by Wright at the back post.

Chances were finally stating to flow, with a mistake from Coventry’s Bobby Thomas letting in Bailey Cadamarteri, whose effort was beaten away by Collins with what was his first real save.

Bambo Diaby then headed Barry Bannan’s free kick over as the visitors continued to press for an equaliser, but time was now running out for Danny Rohl’s side.

Instead, the Sky Blues put the game beyond them in the 89th minute when Sakamoto was found in space on the right and he cut inside before bending a fine finish beyond Cameron Dawson.

Frustration boiled over after the final whistle, as Diaby was shown a red card following a fracas with Coventry’s Liam Kitching, who was also sent off.

Michael Beale said his first match in charge of Sunderland “couldn’t have gone any worse” after seeing his new side humbled 3-0 at home by Coventry.

The former Rangers and QPR boss was appointed as Tony Mowbray’s permanent successor at the start of the week but saw his team finish well beaten on home soil following goals from Tatsuhiro Sakamoto, Callum O’Hare and Kasey Palmer.

Beale was also forced to listen to a significant section of the home support at the Stadium of Light chanting his predecessor’s name during the defeat.

He said: “Today couldn’t have gone any worse, let’s be honest about it. We have to apologise to our fans and we have to respond in a couple of days’ time.

“He (Mowbray) did a good job here, and I have no issue with the fans showing their affection towards him because he was a man who they were fond of and he did a good job.

“Ultimately, that’s now gone and we need to look forward. The team needs to get better results than it did today.

“Consistency has maybe been a bit of an issue for the group. That’s our 10th game that we’ve lost this season in 23, and we’ve won 10. So, at the halfway stage of the campaign, we have to decide what team we’re going to be moving forward. We certainly can’t let in three goals a game, that’s for sure.”

Mark Robins, meanwhile, feels his Coventry side have put themselves into a great position to be able to attack the second half of the season after moving to within six points of the Championship play-off places.

Coventry started the campaign slowly, having lost two of last season’s star players, Viktor Gyokeres and Gustavo Hamer, in the summer transfer window.

A number of signings have gradually bedded in, with the win at the Stadium of Light meaning Robins’ side have now lost just one of their last eight matches.

Robins said: “We lost two brilliant players in the summer, and had a turnover of 25 players. Fourteen players left the club, and 11 came in.

“You’re starting again, and that’s frustrating. It can be frustrating for everyone, but we brought quality in, we know that, it just takes time.

“If you bring in players from abroad who haven’t experienced the Championship before, it can take a while for them to get used to the intensity and the quality of the league.

“It may have surprised one or two, but now, I think they’re starting to see what it’s like and the places you’ve got to come to. The noise in this stadium today was fantastic, so the fact we’ve done what we’ve done shows there’s a bit of growth there going on.

“We can look forward to the second half of the season, although I think this division this year is probably harder than it’s been for a long time because of the teams that are in there and the fact that people have strengthened.”

Michael Beale’s first game as Sunderland head coach ended in disappointment as his side were beaten 3-0 by Coventry at the Stadium of Light.

Beale was confirmed as Tony Mowbray’s successor on Monday, but his maiden outing in charge of his new club did not go to plan as Coventry swept to an emphatic success.

Tatsuhiro Sakamoto opened the scoring for Mark Robins’ side in first-half stoppage time, with Callum O’Hare and Kasey Palmer also finding the net in the second half.

Coventry’s win means they have now lost just one of their last eight matches, and while the Sky Blues might have started the season slowly after losing both Viktor Gyokeres and Gustavo Hamer in the summer, they look increasingly well set for another tilt at the play-offs.

That will also be Sunderland’s ambition, although Beale’s side will have to improve markedly if the former Rangers and QPR boss is to build on Mowbray’s good work over the course of the last 15 months.

Beale made one change for his first game in charge, restoring Jobe Bellingham to the starting line-up. The teenager had a famous face watching him from the stands, with his brother, Jude, observing from the directors’ box after returning to England at the start of Real Madrid’s winter break.

Jobe was stationed as an attacking midfielder, with Abdoullah Ba playing ahead of him as a false number nine, and the latter should have opened the scoring in the 20th minute.

Coventry goalkeeper Brad Collins could only parry Jack Clarke’s shot from just outside the area, with the ball rebounding invitingly for Ba, who was unmarked 10 yards out. The 20-year-old looked certain to score, but instead skied a poor effort over the crossbar.

Sunderland were on top at that stage, but the hosts were indebted to their goalkeeper, Anthony Patterson, for a fine double save from Haji Wright and O’Hare that kept the scoresheet blank midway through the first half.

However, the Sunderland goalkeeper was beaten as Coventry took the lead just before the break. O’Hare delivered a low cross after Luke O’Nien’s error enabled him to break down the left-hand side, and while Sakamoto’s initial shot was saved at the back post, the ball rebounded back off the Japanese midfielder and into the net.

Clarke twice went close to claiming an equaliser at the start of the second half, firing in shots that were saved by Collins, and Bellingham also saw an effort blocked close to the goalline as Sunderland tried to crank up the pressure.

Coventry remained a significant threat on the break though, and the visitors doubled their lead in the 67th minute. Wright pulled the ball back from close to the byline, and O’Hare curled a clinical finish into the far corner.

The second goal was the cue for a section of the Stadium of Light support to begin chanting Mowbray’s name, and the singing became louder when Coventry added a third goal three minutes later.

Patterson failed to hold on to a low cross from the left, and substitute Palmer was left with the simple task of rolling home from close range.

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