Sheffield United couldn’t complete an epic fightback against Coventry City but showed enough promise to suggest better things are ahead.
Manager David Weir was relieved of his position on Friday afternoon after winning just once in 13 matches.
However, with caretaker boss Chris Morgan in charge the performance on the pitch didn’t get much better in the first half at Sixfields.
Former Sheffield Wednesday striker Leon Clarke gave the Sky Blues the lead after six minutes and Blades target Callum Wilson doubled the hosts advantage just after the half hour.
And Clarke made it three just after the break as he shot home from outside the box.
A thunderous free kick by Lyle Taylor was reward for United’s improved showing after Clarke’s second goal.
Taylor made it 3-2 with a deft header in the 80th minute to set up a tense finish for both sets of supporters.
The Blades came close to levelling but couldn’t earn what would have been a valuable point and they find themselves at the bottom of League One.
Coventry City: Murphy, Willis, Adams, Baker, Webster, Clarke, Fleck, Thomas, Clarke, Wilson, Moussa. Substitutes: Manset, Burge, Barton, Daniels, Phillips, Garner, Haynes.
Sheffield United: Long, Westlake, Hill, Coady, Maguire, Collins, Flynn, Doyle, King, Baxter (Taylor 41), Brandy. Substitutes: Howard, Hall, Taylor, McGinn, Lappin, Murphy, Ironside.
Referee: Kevin Friend
* Read James Shield’s match report and analysis in The Star on Monday.