SHEFFIELD United welcomed their first game of February on Friday night hoping it would signal better results than the previous month. But it wasn’t to be.
Former Sheffield Wednesday man Leon Clarke nipped in at the near post to beat Long on 14 minutes.
It was not the start Danny Wilson had hoped for, to say the least.
And Clarke well and truly broke his heart when he scored Coventry’s late winner, following Dave Kitson’s goal for United.
United had failed to win a League One game as they ushered the New Year in.
Tonight, though, they had deadline day signings Barry Robson and Jonathan Forte on the bench.
Neill Collins returned to the starting line-up.
There was an early jolt for United though as 27-year-old Clarke scored from close range high into the middle of the net.
United tried to get back with some long ball treatment, prompting our reporter Dom Howson to tweet: “Blades have got to get more bodies up and around Kitson and Porter if they are going to go route one.”
At this stage, Coventry seemed to have the measure of United.
It was time for a change.
And after 52 minutes, Forte came on in place of Chris Porter.
The 6ft former Doncaster Rovers striker immediately had a half chance, but it was collected by the visiting keeper.
It was however a representation of how the tide was changing.
And United got a deserved equaliser from substitute Robson’s corner (his first touch,) Kitson powering home on 72 minutes
Former United midfielder Curtis Woodhouse tweeted: “Get in there! Come on now lets crack on.”
Forte and Kitson did their best to oblige as United went hunting the winner.
Yet the unlikely happened.
City moved out of their defensive shell and Clarke put them 2-1 up with minutes on the clock.
It was a savage blow for the home crowd, who had been anticipating three points.
Howson tweeted: “Long did not distinguish himself with Coventry’s second but he made a good block to stop substitute Thomas making it 3-1.”
That was the end of the night for United, who know have City breathing down their necks in seventh spot, although Mark Robins’ men have played two more.
Long, Higginbotham, Maguire, Collins, McMahon, Flynn, Doyle, McDonald, Porter, Kitson, Murphy.
Substitutes: Coyne, Westlake, Robson, Ironside, Forte, Cresswell, De Girolamo.
Coventry City: Murphy, Christie, Wood, Edjenguele, Adams, Baker, Jennings, Moussa, McSheffrey, Elliott, Clarke.
Substitutes: Dunn, Clarke, Cameron, Thomas, Fleck, Barton, Ball.
Ref: C Sarginson (Staffordshire)
Att: 17,511 .
*James Shield gives a two-page assessment of tonight’s match - in Saturday’s weekend Star.