The curse of the old boy haunts Coventry City, as former players find the net...
Ex-City pairing Leon Clarke and John Fleck were on target for Sheffield United, as they surge towards the League One title with another home win.
Two second-half goals were enough for the three points, as Fleck assisted Clarke's opener, before netting himself to seal the victory.
If not for a nervy back pass from Jake Wright in the opening moments, the first ten minutes went by without too much by way of goalmouth action.
In packed house at Bramall Lane, the home side were looking to assert their dominance in midfield, with the familiar face of Fleck pulling the strings from deep.
Gael Bigirimana was the first to register an effort on goal, taking the shot on from range, but doing nothing to trouble Simon Moore in the Sheffield upright.
Paul Coutts was the first player to test Lee Burge, with a low shot from the right, but the City stopper was equal to it, comfortably collecting the midfielder’s tame effort.
For all their dominance in possession, the home side failed to create many clear cut openings, despite Mark Duffy finding pockets of space in the final third. Fleck did well to pull a long range pass out of the air in the 22nd minute, only for James Hanson to blaze the ball over the crossbar from inside the six yard box.
A breakaway chance on the half hour mark was one of few opportunities for the away side, as Jodi Jones was released down the right. The winger forced a corner, but City weren’t able to capitalise, as their weekend exploits meant for tired legs.
Ryan Haynes burst forward moments later, and was supported by the forward run of Jones and Ruben Lameiras. Operating on the left wing, Haynes needed only glance to his right to notice the run of his teammates, but elected to take the shot on, which was duly blocked.
Jones was the first player to go close after the interval, teed up by Bigirimana. The winger rather wasted the opportunity, blasting over the bar, as he snatched at the shot.
And City were saved by the linesman’s flag moments later, as Leon Clarke looked to give his side the advantage. The striker had strayed in to an offside position, before Billy Clarke put the ball in to the back of the net.
A surging run from substitute Ben Stevenson nearly gifted Lameiras an opening on the hour mark, but the Portuguese forward couldn’t make use of the pass. The sidefoot effort was easy for Moore to claim, and perhaps represented City’s most dangerous opening.
The Sky Blues were punished 20 minutes from time, as Fleck claimed his 18th assist of the season. The midfielder flashed the ball across the box, where poacher Leon Clarke was arriving late to smash home.
And Fleck capped another fine performance ten minutes later, as he got on the scoresheet himself. The 25-year old engineered a few yards of the space on the edge of the area, and let fly in to the bottom corner.
Sheffield United’s title hopes continue, while City remain rooted to the foot of the table.
Yellow: Bigirimana, Fleck.
Attendance: 24,334 (308).
Coventry City: Burge (GK), Willis (C) (Stevenson 45'), Clarke, Turnbull, Stokes, Bigirimana, Foley, Haynes (G.Thomas 80'), Jones, Lameiras, Tudgay.
Subs: Charles-Cook (GK), Di. Kelly-Evans, Rawson, Beavon, Folivi.
Sheffield United: Moore (GK), Fleck, O'Connell, Basham, Sharp (C) (O'Shea 80'), Wright (Clarke 50'), Coutts, Hanson, Freeman, Duffy (Carruthers 50'), Lafferty.
Subs: Long (GK), Done, Wilson, Chapman.