PROTEST TWISTS A BLADE INTO SISU

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Edwin James

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.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

STAR MAN BILLY SHARP Sh­eff Utd SHARP-SHOOTER: Billy Sharp roars af­ter scor­ing the win­ner as City fans protest, be­low

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