Jack Ross: Coventry forwards punished bad decisions from Sunderland... Portsmouth and Barnsley capitalise
Jack Ross admitted Coventry’s forward players had too much quality for Sunderland who were ‘always chasing the game’ in the dramatic 5-4 League One defeat that gave Pompey and Barnsley a promotion boost.
Sunderland’s hopes were dealt a major blow with former Pompey forward Conor Chaplin hitting a stunning winner.
There were six goals in a chaotic first half, beginning with George Honeyman cancelling out Bright Enobakhare's opener for the visitors.
Amadou Bakayoko and Jordy Hiwula then gave the Sky Blues a two-goal cushion but the teams went in level at half-time at 3-3 after Charlie Wyke and Will Grigg scored.
Jordan Shipley had Coventry in front again but Max Power levelled things up once again.
Chaplin completed the scoring after 78 minutes in an incredible afternoon in the north east.
Ross told the Sunderland Echo: ‘You can’t use it (expansive style) as an excuse because in your preparation you then have to have a balance about how the opposition can hurt you.
‘The truth is, I think Coventry are a good team and what they have in forward areas is good, I thought they were clinical with their finishing.
‘But we played our own part in creating the opportunities by the decision making because when you play in a certain way, you have to make the right decisions with the ball in particular.’
Barnsley and Pompey took full advantage with four goals each and big wins.
While the Blues dismantled Rochdale, Barnsley saw off Fleetwood 4-2 at Oakwell to move above the Black Cats into second place in the table.
Mike-Steven Bahre and Cauley Woodrow struck to give the Tykes the half-time lead. Cameron McGeehan and Jacob Brown added second-half goals.
Ched Evans and Wes Burns scored for Fleetwood who had Harry Soutar sent off in the second half with the score at 2-1.
Barnsley have 82 points from 42 games, while third-placed Sunderland are on 40 from 41 matches along with Kenny Jackett’s Blues in fourth.
Charlton kept themselves in the hunt for a top-two spot with a 3-1 win against leaders Luton, who led through Harry Cornick’s early strike.
Lyle Taylor, from the penalty spot, Igor Vetokele and Taylor again netted to turn the game on its head.
Luton, beaten for the first time since October, finished with 10 men after Andrew Shinnie was sent off.
Tommy Rowe and Danny Andrew scored in Doncaster's 2-0 win against Plymouth as Rovers remained in a good position to claim the last play-off spot.
Peterborough stay seventh, five points behind Doncaster after Marcus Maddison scored in a 1-0 victory at Blackpool.
Bradford are on the brink of relegation after losing 3-2 at Bristol Rovers, who won with Jonson Clarke-Harris’ late strike after Nathaniel Knight-Percival’s injury-time effort looked to have got a point for the bottom club.
Lewis O’Brien had given Bradford the lead before goals from Clarke-Harris and James Clarke.
Southend are still in trouble after losing 2-0 at home to Wycombe, with Adebayo Akinfenwa scoring both goals, while AFC Wimbledon stay in the bottom four after a goalless draw at Oxford.
Walsall stay in the relegation zone but, like Wimbledon and Southend, remain within touching distance of safety despite losing 2-1 at Accrington.
Ross Sykes scored for Stanley either side of Nicky Devlin's equaliser. Josh Gordon was sent off late on for the Saddlers.
Scunthorpe are still just above the drop zone after a 3-0 defeat to Burton at Glanford Park. Kieran Wallace, Lucas Akins and Liam Boyce netted for the Brewers.
James Bolton and Tyrese Campbell were on target in Shrewsbury's 2-0 win at Gillingham.