Sheff Utd 2 Coventry 2: Clough blast for red-card Baxter

Sheffield United captain Michael Doyle celebrates making it 2-1 against former club Coventry City (Picture: Martyn Harrison).Sheffield United captain Michael Doyle celebrates making it 2-1 against former club Coventry City (Picture: Martyn Harrison).
Sheffield United captain Michael Doyle celebrates making it 2-1 against former club Coventry City (Picture: Martyn Harrison).
Jose Baxter has been warned he faces a fight to regain his Sheffield United shirt after being sent off against Coventry City.

The Blades midfield player was shown a straight red card after just 18 minutes for a two-footed tackle on Adam Barton.

Two goals from the impressive Dominic Samuel put Coventry – struggling near the relegation zone – in control, only for the 10-man Blades to stage a late rally to earn a point thanks to goals from Michael Doyle and Jamie Murphy.

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Baxter faces a club fine and a three-match ban – it was the 23-year-old’s second red card of his career – starting with tomorrow’s trip to Rochdale.

Manager Nigel Clough has also warned the former Everton youngster he will face a battle to get back in the team.

Clough said: “The punishment is that he’s out for three games, which is about 10 days, then he’ll get fined and with people coming back he has got to get back into the team, which is by no means certain.

“He only played (on Saturday) because Jason Holt was injured.”

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On the red card, Clough said: “No complaints. You can’t tackle like that these days.

“I don’t know what was going through Jose’s head. We can’t 
afford that sort of thing, with the discipline.

“I have quite a few issues with a few other decisions. The lad who scored the goal had two hand balls. Then he got a yellow for a foul on the touchline.”

Fifth-placed United went into the game on the back of three successive league wins, and were confident of beating Coventry to put pressure on the top two.

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But Clough admitted he was eventually relieved to escape with a point.

“Two goals down with 15 minutes to go and with 10 men? It was a very good point,” he stressed.

“It was a remarkable effort to get back in at that stage. From that point of view, we’re delighted. At the start of the day, it’s two points dropped. At 4.30pm, it’s one gained.

“We had to show fighting spirit and belief. The second goal killed us a bit, coming straight away 
after half-time.

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“When that happens, you have to spend 20 minutes fighting your way back in.

“I know people shout for you to get more men forward, but that’s how, in those situations, you end up losing four- or five-nil.

“We’re still positive. We didn’t want to lose it, having come back from 2-0 down because that would have been tragic. But we tried to nick something as well.

“It will do our belief good because when we’re in a situation again, albeit hopefully not with 10 men, we know we can come back. Also, it keeps a little bit of momentum going.

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“We’ve seen with some other results that you can lose it just as quickly as you can gain it,” said Clough.

Coventry started the better and exploited the extra man by going 2-0 up.

Samuel – on loan from Reading – got the better of Bob Harris before slotting the ball beyond goalkeeper Iain Turner.

Then, straight from the restart Samuel tucked home Aaron Phillip’s cross, which seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Blades.

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With some home fans heading for the Bramall Lane exits, United staged a late fightback with two goals in as many minutes.

Murphy equalised with a fine long-range strike in the 80th minute, but it was Doyle’s looping effort two minutes earlier which ignited United’s belief.

Matty Done looked like he was going to score in a goalmouth scramble before the ball found its way to Doyle.

The Blades’ captain admitted he had “mixed emotions” about scoring against a club where he spent eight years earlier in his career. Coventry, like United one of the original members of the Premier League, ended the day in the League One relegation zone.

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“I thought Matty was going to put one in with his backside, he always seems to be on all-fours when he is finishing,” said Doyle.

“The ball came back from Murphy, and it came so quick to me.

“My first instinct was to stab the ball and kind of lift it, because when you do that everybody freezes.

“I was delighted with the goal, but I played for Coventry for a long time, so it was mixed emotions for me.

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“My main priority is Sheffield United, to try and drive this team on and get promoted, but I want Coventry to stay up and do well.

“That’s where I am from, my kids and that are there, and I had a long time at Coventry. I absolutely loved it, it’s a fantastic club.

“It’s just a shame what’s going on there, with the owners and things.

“You could feel the atmosphere around the place, it was like back to the cup games, the whole place just lifted, it erupted,” added Doyle.

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Sheffield United: Turner, Brayford, Basham, McEveley, Harris, Campbell-Ryce (Kennedy 46),Coutts (Freeman 70), Doyle, Murphy, Baxter, Done (McNulty 86). Unused substitutes: Willis, Davies, Reed, Adams.

Coventry: Jones, Phillips, Pennington, Martin, Stokes (Haynes 73), O’Brien, Barton (Finch 53), Fleck, Williams (George Thomas 59), Tudgay, Samuel. Unused substitutes: Burge, Webster, Jackson, Turgott.

Referee: D Drysdale (Lincolnshire).