COVENTRY CITY 1-1 SHEFFIELD UNITED
LEAGUE ONE 21/08/12 at the Ricoh Arena
Team: Murphy, Hussey, Malaga, Wood, Brown, Baker (McSheffrey 88), Barton, Jennings, McDonald, Elliott (Ball 84). SNU Dunn, Edjenguele, Daniels, Willis, O’Donovan.
Sheffield United: Howard, McGuire, Hill, Doyle, Blackman, McDonald, Collins, Cofie (Miller 60), Quinn, McMahon, McAllister. SNU Long, Flynn, Harriott, Philliskirk, Ironside, Williams
HT CCFC 0-0 SUFC FT CCFC 1-1 SUFC ATT 12,621
GOALS Stephen Elliott (62), Nick Blackman (83)
Referee Paul Tierney Assts Danny Gratton and Paul Hobday. Fourth Official Daniel Meeson. Booked Hill, Elliott, Barton, Blackman
Man Of The Match – Richard Wood took the votes with nominations for Steve Jennings and Steve Elliott.
CITY TEAM: Andy Thorn made four changes from the team that had draw at Yeovil.
WEATHER: After the pre-game rain had stopped, it was not a bad night weather-wise and was a pretty warm evening.
Yet again, Coventry City supporters witnessed another reason as to why the sooner the Football League brings in video technology the better as a not given goal meant that Coventry City’s first home league game in the third tier of English football for 49 years ended in a draw instead of a win
Eleven matches have passed since we were last at the Ricoh Arena for a Coventry City home game and tonight’s fare was for the Sky Blues first ever League One meeting with Sheffield United and it was described in some quarters as the biggest game of the season for the Sky Blues in terms that United are the only ones in this division likely to bring a decent away following.
1570 Blades fans had got through the pre-game rain and made their way into the Ricoh Arena, whilst eleven thousand City fans plus fifty or so Japanese and Chinese students sat in block 28 took their seats in the other three stands in a game which started late due to the marking of the passing of City old boy Ernie Machin.
Against a United side which included former Sky Blue Michael Doyle, City were thankful to Richard Wood early on.
The centre half, cleared a Cofie cross in the eighth minute later and two minutes later, was on the goal-line clearing away an effort by McAllister following a free kick.
Whilst Doyle and Kilbane tussled in midfield, Steve Jennings worked hard to try and get the Sky Blues, attacking the away end in the first half, going forward.
However, with balls from Baker and co not going where they should have been, it was the visitors who had the better of the play winning a corner and forcing Wood into another clearance before Cody McDonald was brought down in the 37th minute and the boos rang out when no penalty was given.
There were boos at half-time but in the second half, there was something to sing about for the Sky Blue support.
McDonald headed wide in the 55th minute, then Elliott did the same. The pressure continued with a corner. When the ball came over, there was Kevin Malaga on his home debut, who got in a header.
Now we could see the ball had crossed the line before it was hacked away by United’s last man. However, the assistant looked to have his view blocked by players and with the referee not well placed, no goal was given.
Video technology, I am sure would have put the Sky Blues ahead but in the 62nd minute, they did go into the lead when McDonald and Stephen Elliott combined and the debutant raced through to smash the ball home from fifteen yards.
Back came the visitors with two efforts including one from Nick Blackman, which saw the ballboy get a big ovation for retrieving the ball from high in the away stand, going well wide.
The atmosphere was pretty good in the ground with even the Japanese and Chinese students in Block 28 trying to create some noise by doing the wave.
United won two corners before Malaga just missed with a header at the far post. The Blades countered quickly and the ball was played up to Nick Blackman who beat Joe Murphy in a pink shirt, with a low shot to delight the travelling fans who had been treating us to their version of a John Denver classic.
Stephen Elliott went off to deserved applause when he made way for Callum Ball and Carl Baker was replaced by Gary McSheffrey with two minutes to go but the changes could not bring a goal and the match ended in a draw.