PROTEST TWISTS A BLADE INTO SISU
MARK VENUS refused to lay the blame at the feet of Coventry’s frustrated fans – despite watching his side concede a late winner moments after protests spilled out onto the pitch.
In the televised fixture – chosen by protesters for that specific reason – Coventry’s owners, Sisu, were subjected to an embarrassing night.
Anti-Sisu flags, banners, chants and even Christmas carols were directed at the nebulous hedge fund, while play was stopped in the 86th minute by dozens of pitch invaders.
When play resumed after a sevenminute pause, Billy Sharp proceeded to wrap up all three points for a buoyant Sheffield United.
In contrast, Coventry are seemingly on a never-ending spiral, having now descended to the bottom of League One after nine years of Sisu ownership.
And interim boss Venus, in charge at the Ricoh since Tony Mowbray resigned in September, admits there is unlikely to be any Christmas cheer under his watch.
“(The pitch invasion) had no bearing on the result,” said Venus. “The first thing is to try to find a manager.
“We need someone to take the team forward and we need to work hard to get that person in before January.
“If we can be more streetwise in both boxes and maybe get in the players who can help us do that I’m sure we can pick up some points. It’s not all doom and gloom.
“We worked really hard, gave it our best and the longer the game went on I felt the more threat we had. But to give a late goal away is where we are at the moment – everything seems to be going against us.”
Blades boss Chris Wilder was left bemused by the stoppage, saying: “That’s twice that’s happened to us, at Charlton, now here. It was all set up that something was going to happen. It’s disrupted the game. It’s poor.
“I have a bittersweet taste in my mouth. We’re talking about stuff that’s off the pitch, in the stands, which is a sad day.”
Coventry’s players battled gamely against the promotion-chasing Blades and deserved a draw on the evidence of the first 86 minutes.
Sharp had put the visitors into the lead with his first goal in six games after pouncing on Jordan Turnbull’s clearance and applying the finish from an acute angle.
Andre Wright was inches away from restoring parity with a sweetly-struck volley just before half-time, but Dan Agyei’s deflected strike got Coventry off to a flyer after the break.
Caolan Lavery twice hit the woodwork for the Blades and Marvin Sordell went close at the other end but while the fans made their voices heard, Sharp had the last word.
“We didn’t play well,” admitted Wilder. “The opposition can count themselves unlucky not to get a result. This has been our least impressive performance in this run, but the heart and desire to go and win was immense.”
STAR MAN BILLY SHARP Sheff Utd SHARP-SHOOTER: Billy Sharp roars after scoring the winner as City fans protest, below