Sheffield United’s lingering hopes of claiming a place in the League One play-offs were crushed at the Ricoh Arena.
Goals from Marc-Antoine Fortune and Andy Rose put Coventry City in the driving seat before either team had managed to break sweat.
A second-half penalty from Billy Sharp handed the visitors’ a lifeline.
But, when Ruben Lameiras restored Coventry’s two-goal advantage during the closing stages, the outcome of fixtures involving Barnsley and Gillingham was rendered redundant.
Regardless of results elsewhere, United manager Nigel Adkins had conceded beforehand that his side had to win this fixture to keep their promotion dream alive.
United had travelled south facing a four-point gap that, before kick-off, separated them from Barnsley in sixth. Their task was made all the more difficult when Coventry took charge inside the opening 10 minutes.
First, Adam Armstrong’s effort found its way in via Fortune’s backside then, moments later, Rose doubled the lead.
United, for all their faults earlier this term, have been a much more solid unit in recent weeks.
But this was a return to the bad old days of an abysmal autumn period that helped set the tone for a desperately disappointing campaign.
Sharp reduced the deficit after the interval after being upended inside the penalty area. But United’s rearguard was breached again during the closing stages when Lameiras pounced.
Coventry: Charles-Cook, Vincelot, Martin, Stephens, Hunt, Cole, Fleck, Fortune (Lameiras 78), Rose (Phillips 69), George Thomas (Jones 65), Armstrong. Unused substitutes: Gadzhev, Tudgay, Addai, Harries.
Sheffield United: Long, Baptiste, Edgar, McEveley, Basham, Coutts, Whiteman (Reed 85), Flynn (Woolford 66), Done (Kelly 90), Sharp, Adams. Unused substitutes: Sammon, McGahey, Brooks, Ramsdale.
Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire).