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?
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
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

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits