Match Report

 

Posted By  Nick Connoll ,  Wed 07 Aug 13

Coventry City hung for a battling win over Sheffield United despite a nerve-wracking final few minutes.

Leon Clarke put City in front in the sixth minute before goals four minutes either side of the break from Callum Wilson and then Leon Clarke again put the hosts in control.

But the managerless Blades fought back in the second half as substitute Lyle Taylor scored a free-kick on the hour and then a header ten minutes from time to set up a tense finale, which City just about survived.

City took the lead with the first meaningful attack of the match when John Fleck’s fantastic pass invited Blair Adams to burst down the left in the sixth minute.

The full-back duly accepted and drove forward before crossing and his deflected centre fell into the path of Leon Clarke, who coolly volleyed into the bottom corner with his left foot from 10 yards.

Former Sky Blue Marlon King threatened at the other end however, first with a header wide from eight yards, then a drilled cross.

Alert defending from Jordan Clarke was required to prevent King and his new team-mates getting in behind on a couple of occasions but in the main it was the Sky Blues who looked the more likely, with Fleck dictating play from deep.

Leon Clarke had an opportunity to double his tally on the half hour mark when Carl Baker picked him out at the back post with a deep cross form the right. But this time the striker couldn’t find the target.

There were no such problems with Baker’s next cross in the 32nd minute however. The skipper skinned former captain Michael Doyle on the right before cutting back a perfect pass for Wilson, who then smashed into the top corner at the near post.

Wilson played in Leon Clarke once more a moment later, but his footing failed him when one-on-one with the keeper.

The same combination created another chance a minute before half-time but Leon Clarke sliced wide after over-lapping his striker partner.

A similar run brought Leon Clarke his second goal just four minutes into the second half.

Baker and Wilson worked well to find the feet of Moussa on the edge of the box before the Belgian, with his back to goal, showed good awareness to allow the on-rushing Leon Clarke to take the ball off his toe and advance into the box where he stroked into the bottom corner with his left foot.

Largely a spectator to this point, Joe Murphy was called into action seven minutes later. The Irishman stood up well to deny Febian Brandy after he was played in by Conor Coady on the counter-attack.

The keeper could do nothing about Taylor’s free-kick in the 62nd minute however. Conor Thomas felled Taylor on the edge of the box and from the resulting free-kick the substitute fired through the City wall and into the net.

This lifted the visitors, and their vocal travelling fans, and a minute later Ryan Flynn had a chance to further reduce the deficit – but Murphy saved well when one-on-one.

Leon Clarke should have had a hat-trick after he was sent in on goal in the 70th minute but his low strike was somehow saved by George Long.

Coady wasted two headed chances to cut the lead, failing to find the target each time before Taylor was much more accurate, glancing into the corner from Darryl Westlake’s diagonal cross.

Murphy denied Coady once more before time was up and Leon Clarke had another chance to secure his hat-trick but City held on.



Teams

Coventry City (4-4-2): Murphy; Willis (Phillips 77), J Clarke, Webster, Adams; Baker (Daniels 66), Fleck, Thomas, Moussa (Barton 80); Wilson, L Clarke.
Subs:  Burge, Manset, Garner, Haynes.

Sheffield United (4-4-2): Long; Westlake, Maguire, Collins, Hill; Flynn (Hall 73), Coady, Doyle, Brandy; Baxter (Taylor 41), King (McGinn 57).
Subs: Howard, Lappin, Murphy, Ironside.

Referee: Mike Dean (Cheshire)

Attendance: 2,078 (966 away)

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