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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain