CLOUGH HAILS MIRACLE MEN
MANAGER Nigel Clough described the point his ten-men Sheffield United side claimed as a ‘remarkable effort’ after they came back from two goals down to secure a draw.
United had been forced to play with ten men from the 19th minute when Jose Baxter was given a straight red card by referee Darren Drysdale who had little choice as the Blades midfielder went in to a challenge with Adam Barton with his studs up.
Dominic Samuel then put the visitors ahead in the 33rd minute before doubling the lead shortly after the break.
A shock result seemed on the cards but Michael Doyle pulled one back against his former club in the 78th minute.
Jamie Murphy, who possessed most of United’s attacking guile, equalised with a deflected shot two minutes later.
While United were clear favourites going into the game on a run of three consecutive wins against a struggling Coventry side, context must be given to the fact they came back from such a difficult position.
Clough said: “Fifteen minutes to go, 2-0 down with 10 men? A very good point.
“A remarkable effort really to get back into the game at that stage.
“We played nearly 80 minutes with ten men, scored two goals and got a point out of the game. From that point of view we’re delighted. At the start of the day it’s two points dropped – at half past four it’s a point gained.
“I thought they needed good football and the spirit and the fighting and scrapping and everything to get back into the game – a little bit of belief as well.”
Opposite number Steven Pressley paid tribute to his side, feeling that a lack of experience was costly.
“For 75 minutes it was a proud away performance from us.,” he said.
“The sending off was a turning point but when you are playing against 10 men – especially in an environment like this – it can be very difficult. I thought we handled it brilliantly until 75 minutes.
“We found ourselves 2-0 up and I am thinking this is the perfect performance.
“But when they scored the first goal we didn’t show quite the composure and I understand why we’ve not won enough games of football and when you are desperately trying to get that win a nervousness sets.”
United had emerged as the brighter of the two sides but they were reduced to ten men when Baxter was sent off following his poor challenge on Barton.
Coventry then went ahead in the 33rd minute when Samuel controlled keeper Jamie Jones’ kick and made the most of a fortunate bounce by holding off Bob Harris and slotting a low shot in.
The second half was less than two minutes old when Samuel got his and the Sky Blues’ second, Turner parrying his first attempt.
Doyle looped the ball home in the 78th minute before Murphy’s firm, low shot from outside the box two minutes later took a deflection and made its way into the net to level it.
SHEFF UTD (4-4-1-1) Turner 7, Brayford 6, Basham 6, McEveley 7, Harris 6, Campbell-Ryce 6 (Kennedy 45 7), Coutts 6 (Freeman 70 7), Doyle 6, Murphy 7, Baxter 4, Done 6 (McNulty 86 N/A) Subs not used: Willis, Davies, Reed, Adams
COVENTRY ( 4-4-2) Jones 7, Phillips 6, Pennington 7, Martin 7, Stokes 6 (Haynes 73 6), O’Brien 6, Barton 7 (Finch 53 6), Fleck 7, Williams 6 (Thomas 59 6), Tudgay 7, Samuel 8
Subs not used: Burge, Webster, Jackson, Turgott
STAR MAN DOMIN
ry BACK IN IT: Sheffield United’s Michael Doyle starts the comeback. Inset: Jose Baxter is sent off