NORTHUMBRIA POLICE have launched an investigation after Sunderland supporters had objects thrown at them during Saturday's 5-4 home defeat to Coventry City.

Police were forced to deal with outbreaks of disorder during and after the match at the Stadium of Light, and are looking into reports of objects being thrown from the away end into the stand below.

A number of Sunderland supporters have alleged that glass bottles were flung into the lower tier of the North Stand, and Northumbria Police have confirmed they are working with officials from Sunderland and Coventry as they investigate what went on.

Match commander, chief inspector Jamie Pitt, said: "While the majority of fans who attended the match behaved incredibly well, the actions of a small minority have spoilt the day for many and this is totally unacceptable.

"Notwithstanding there was a notable steward and police presence at the ground for the match we are aware of the issue of objects being thrown from the away end.

"There is absolutely no place in football for this sort of behaviour and we are working closely with both clubs to help locate those responsible and we will take action on anyone found to be involved."

A spokesperson from Sunderland AFC said: "Sunderland AFC is disappointed by the disrespectful behaviour of many away fans at the home match against Coventry City yesterday.

"SAFC and Northumbria Police had been in contact with both Coventry and its fans group ahead of the game, acknowledging that there would likely be some sort of protest, and trying to ensure that the match could go ahead in a safe and respectful environment for both sets of fans.

"That turned out not to be the case, with Sunderland fans in the lower tier of the North Stand being subjected to projectiles thrown from the upper tier, where away fans were housed. Several Sunderland fans were either injured by the projectiles or had property damaged by smoke bombs thrown from above.

"There were numerous other offences committed, all of which were especially disappointing given Sunderland AFC 's willingness to speak to Coventry fans ahead of the game.

"In response, Sunderland fans demonstrated admirable restraint in the circumstances, for which the club is grateful."

Police made eight arrests, resulting in one man being charged with breaching a football banning order and two men facing charges of public order offences. Three men were released under common law, while two men will face no further action.

A further five people were ejected from the Stadium of Light for breach of ground regulations.