Coventry City 3 Sheffield United 2 Match report: Clarke double sends United to rock bottom

 

Sixfields

“Mr Blue Sky” was the uplifting choice of music as the teams stepped out at Sixfields on Sunday but for managerless Sheffield United the gloom deepened. Forty-eight hours after David Weir’s dismissal, the Bramall Lane club hit rock bottom in League One, ending the weekend at the foot of the table after their eighth defeat in 11 matches.

Whoever replaces Weir may take encouragement from a second-half rally in which they scored twice, although their feeble efforts before that were a more accurate reflection of their current failings.

Chris Morgan, the club’s Under-21 coach and caretaker manager, said: “We have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. There’s a new manager next week and, hopefully, the new man comes in and lifts us up.”

As for the identity of that manager, he gave no reason to doubt that the bookmakers have got it wrong in making Nigel Clough favourite to become United’s seventh manager in six years. “Nigel Clough’s the name on everybody’s lips,” Morgan said. “I’ve not heard another name mentioned. It sounds like people have made their minds up.”

For Coventry, this was another bittersweet afternoon – their fourth win in six matches at a stadium 35 miles from home. Were it not for the 10-point deduction imposed before the season began, they would be in the play-off places, manager Steven Pressley having put together a team with plenty of youthful energy and, crucially, an attacking duo of Leon Clarke and Callum Wilson with a genuine understanding, who now have 18 goals between them in League One. “You certainly get your money’s worth here,” said Pressley, though sadly there were just 2,078 fans at Sixfields, 966 of them from Sheffield.

On the hill behind stood a small group of fans with their “Sisu out” banner directed at the club’s unpopular owners. That is the bigger issue at stake but on the pitch at least Coventry are getting it right.

It took just six minutes for Clarke to open the scoring with a precise volley from full-back Blair Adams’  cross. Wilson doubled the lead with a powerful first-time strike from Carl Baker’s pull-back and four minutes after the break, it was 3-0 as Clarke, who could easily have had a hat-trick, rolled a low shot beyond United keeper George Long.

Sheffield looked bereft of confidence. Weir had sought to instil a patient, passing game – a radical change of philosophy and one that his squad had struggled to take on board. They have lacked a cutting edge all season but substitute Lyle Taylor, a Weir signing, at least ensured an exciting finish with his first goals for the club. A free-kick that flew through a gap in the Coventry defensive wall was followed by a header from a deep Ryan Hall cross.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Murphy; Willis (Phillips, 77), Webster, Clarke, Adams; Baker (Daniels, 67), Thomas, Fleck, Moussa (Barton, 81); Wilson, Clarke. Substitutes not used Burge, Manset, Garner, Haynes.

Sheffield United (4-4-1-1): Long; Westlake, Maguire, Collins, Hill; Flynn (Hall, 73), Coady, Doyle, Brandy; Baxter (Taylor, 41); King (McGinn, 57). Substitutes not used Howard, Lappin, Murphy, Ironside.

Referee  K Friend (Leicestershire).

Goals. Coventry: Clarke 6, 49, Wilson 32. Sheffield United: Taylor 62, 80

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Karim Benzema celebrates scoring the opening goal
liveblogFollow the latest from the Bernabeu as Real Madrid play Bayern Munich
News
Rohff is one of France’s most popular rappers
people
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes has claimed supporters understand the need to look at
sportScot thanks club staff and fans, but gives no specific mention of players
News
Strange 'quack' noises could be undersea chatter of Minke whales
science
News
weird news... and film it, obviously
Arts & Entertainment
tv
News
news
News
peopleThis time as he’s awarded the Freedom of Stirling and handed an honorary degree
Voices
voices Furore is yet another example of shameful Westminster evasion, says Nigel Farage
Voices
voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
Arts & Entertainment
Rocker of ages: Chuck Berry
musicWhy do musicians play into old age?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
Sam Wallace: Why Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term

Sam Wallace

Why Ryan Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term
Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Having smashed Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old record, the French phenomenon tells Simon Turnbull he can go higher
Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

Through the screen

British Pathé opens its archives
The man behind the papier mâché mask

Frank Sidebottom

The man behind the papier mâché mask
Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

Boston runs again

Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

40 years of fostering and holding the babies

In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents