Coventry City 4 Sheffield United 1: Blades fans see side go from sublime to ridiculous

INJURIES, illness, postponements, suspensions and Covid have afflicted Coventry City and Sheffield United more than most.

Problems bite on Saturday for the hosts with Sky Blues boss and former Barnsley and Rotherham United chief Mark Robins and assistant Adi Viveash testing positive for Covid, with first-team coach Dennis Lawrence and under-23s coach Luke Tisdale taking the team.

Good teams take problems in their stride as the Blades have done in recent times.

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This time, it was Coventry who made light of issues en route to a magnificent statement win following an exhibition of attacking football in the second half.

Sheffield United's 4,275 travelling fans at Coventry. Bradley Collyer/PA WireSheffield United's 4,275 travelling fans at Coventry. Bradley Collyer/PA Wire
Sheffield United's 4,275 travelling fans at Coventry. Bradley Collyer/PA Wire

Viktor Gyokeres and two-goal Callum O’Hare ran riot in particular as the contrasting Championship was displayed in a nutshell.

After a brilliant 4-1 win over Middlesbrough in midweek, United were battered here in the Midlands, against a fine side who might yet have a play-off say.

What was all the more remarkable was that United had taken the lead through Sander Berge.

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A stiff wind greeted both sets of players when they strode out and it was to their immense credit that they produced an excellent first-half which showed just why they are both in the top-six picture, albeit with United’s credentials currently being a touch more serious.

It ended even, although the Blades were probably more relieved with that outcome, given the barnstorming way in which the hosts ended the half.

United drew first blood through Berge’s clinical far-post header, but it was soon cancelled out by danger man Gyokeres.

The visitors, backed by around 4,000 travelling fans, made the better start and only excellent covering defending from Jake Clarke-Salter denied Tuesday’s hero Morgan Gibbs-White a tap-in after fine play by Billy Sharp.

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United would soon have their breakthrough to test the mettle of a Coventry side minus their manager and having been beaten in their previous two matches for the first time this term.

The hosts response was strong and instant with Gyokeres being the beneficiary of a big misjudgment from Jack Robinson following Michael Rose’s wind-assisted long pass.

At the other end, a polished move ended with Conor Hourihane, who had a good first-half, firing a rasping shot just wide from distance.

Coventry were posing more of the issues with Gyokeres cutting inside John Egan with his shot destined for the far corner, only for Wes Foderingham to produce a smart parry in the bick of time.

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A rarity in the shape of a pass back being penalised then produced a big moment, only for Hourihane’s shot to be blocked by Rose, one of seven players in the seven-man Coventry wall.

Coventy went straight up the other end and should have gone in front after a magnificent break by Jamie Allen and O’Hare, with Gustavo Hamer sent clear, only for Foderingham to broke.

A powerhouse spell then saw Kyron Gordon block a goalbound shot from Gyokeres, before a goalbound header from the same player was carried near the line as the hosts bayed for a penalty for what they saw as a push.

The half-time whistle came at a good juncture for United, but Coventry carred on from where they left off with a storming start to the second half.

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The excellent O’Hare fired wide, but the warning was not heeded.

Gyokeres gave Egan the slip down the right and after Foderingham got a touch to his low shot which hit the post, the supporting O’Hare managed to bundle the ball in.

There was no respite for the Blades as Coventry sensed blood and went for the kill.

Ex-Blade Kyle McFadzean saw a far-post header blocked by Oli Norwood before Gyokeres again created mayhem down the left to set up O’Hare, who finished tidily and low, despite the attentions of Gordon.

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It was turning into a desperate half for United and worse was to come.

Matty Godden missed a sitter after being denied by the busy Foderingham, but soon had his goal after more excellence from O’Hare to set him up for a tap-in.

It was relentless stuff with the Gyokeres and O’Hare then again combining effortlessly, with Foderingham denying the latter.

Blades had chances for a consolation while sub Waghorn hit the post, but the game was long since over as a competitive entity as United suffered just their second loss in 13 league matches.

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Coventry City: Moore; Rose, McFadzean (Hyam 69), Clarke-Salter; Dabo (Kane 73), Hamer, Allen, Maatsen; O’Hare; Godden (Waghorn 82), Gyokeres. Substitutes unused: Wilson, Sheaf, Tavares, Howley.

Sheffield United: Foderingham; Gordon, Egan, Robinson; Osborn (Ndiaye 79), Berge, Norwood (McBurnie 65, Jebbison ), Hourihane, Norrington-Davies; Gibbs-White, Sharp. Substitutes unused: A Davies, Lopata, Arblaster, Seriki.

Referee: J Simpson (Lancashire).

Attendance: 21,732 (4,275 Sheffield United fans).

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