SHEFFIELD United crashed out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last night after losing 4-1 on penalties to Coventry City after the match finished 1-1 after 90 minutes, writes Dom Howson.
With no extra time played in the competition, the tie went straight to penalties and both Harry Maguire and Ryan Flynn missed spot kicks as one-time Blades target John Fleck converted the decisive penalty. Only Joe Ironside registered from 12 yards for the visitors, who have been knocked out at the quarter-final stage of the Northern Area section in the last two seasons.
Midfielder David McAllister grabbed his second goal of the season with nine minutes remaining to cancel out Maguire’s 58th minute own goal. The Irishman tapped in from close range with nine minutes remaining after Michael Doyle’s shot had been saved.
Danny Wilson, the Blades boss, opted to rest four of his senior players; Neill Collins, Nick Blackman, Chris Porter and Shaun Miller. He handed starts to Richard Cresswell, John Cofie, Marcus Williams and academy graduate Callum McFadzean, who was making his first Blades start.
Cresswell had the first sight of goal, shooting over the bar from just outside the penalty area.
In a scrappy opening half an hour, Carl Baker, the hosts captain, tried his luck from distance but his effort failed to trouble George Long.
As the half wore on, the match started to open up more with United defender Darryl Westlake and Baker testing the reflexes of Joe Murphy and Long respectively.
Just before the interval, Maguire’s free kick went agonisingly off target.
But Coventry broke the deadlock after England under-21 international Maguire deflected in Steven Jennings cross at the near post.
United re-grouped quickly and Cofie, on loan from Manchester United, saw his 20-yard drive go straight into the arms of Murphy.
Jennings cleared a dangerous centre from Ryan Flynn while Matt Hill headed over a McFadzean corner as the visitors continued to press for an equaliser.
Wilson threw on youngsters Jordan Chapell, Joe Ironside and 17-year-old prospect Diego De Girolamo, with the latter making an instant impact.
Afer McAllister’s leveller, Long produced a smart block to deny David McGoldrick and the young shot-stopper also thwarted McSheffrey as neither side could be seperated in normal time.
Sheffield United: Long; Westlake, Maguire, Hill, Williams; Flynn, Doyle, McAllister, McFadzean; Cresswell, Cofie. Substitutes: Chapell, Philliskirk, Ironside, Coyne, De Girolamo.
Attendance: 10,162 (636)