Sky Blues edge thriller
Coventry edged a five-goal thriller to condemn Sheffield United to their first Championship defeat of the campaign.
Last Updated: 15/09/09 11:05pm
Coventry edged a five-goal thriller at the Ricoh Arena to condemn Sheffield United to their first Championship defeat of the campaign.
The Sky Blues took the lead via Leon Best in the 12th minute, before Jamie Ward replied 19 minutes later with a stunning strike.
Clinton Morrison then restored the home side's advantage five minutes after the restart, while Martin Cranie extended the advantage on 60 minutes with his first goal for the club.
James Harper then pulled one back for the Blades on 76 minutes to set up a tense finale, but Coventry held on to register their first victory in five games.
Coventry boss Chris Coleman admitted before the game that the clash at the Ricoh Arena would be his side's toughest test of the season so far, but his charges responded admirably in an entertaining encounter full of chances.
The hosts started the brighter with the terrier-like Sammy Clingan pulling the strings in the middle of the park.
And it was he who set up the opener, floating a weighted ball over the top to find Best, who brought down the ball perfectly 12 yards out before lashing an unstoppable shot past Mark Bunn from the right side of the penalty area.
Keiren Westwood did well to block Stephen Quinn's stabbed effort from point-blank range just minutes later.
Chances were coming at either end and it was up to Westwood to prove why he is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers outside the top flight with an even better save to deny Quinn for a second time when he found himself clean through.
But if Coventry's opener was impressive then United's equaliser was even better.
Ward coolly brought the ball down 30 yards from goal on the right and charged towards the area before letting fly with an unstoppable effort into the top corner that, for once, left Westwood with no chance.
On-loan midfielder Jack Cork blasted over from 18 yards for the hosts before Blades full-back Andy Taylor fluffed his lines from four yards out a minute before the interval when it looked easier to score.
There were just five second-half minutes on the clock when Coventry regained the lead.
United midfielder Nick Montgomery failed to really do anything as the ball came towards him on the halfway line and he could only watch as it ricocheted off his body and into the path of the onrushing Michael McIndoe.
The winger burst down the left and despite his cross going behind Best and Morrison in the area, the latter readjusted his body to put a low effort past the despairing Bunn.
United immediately went in search of an equaliser and Westwood did well to tip Keith Treacy's strike around a post before Ward missed from close range.
But Coventry were almost out of sight on the hour mark as McIndoe again turned provider, floating over a corner for Cranie to head home.
Harper pounced from close range in the 76th minute to set up an edgy finale for the home faithful.
Blades' substitute Ched Evans almost rescued a point only to see his strike clip the top of the crossbar as the game entered the closing stages but Coventry held on to win.
United's attention will now be firmly on Friday's steel city derby against Sheffield Wednesday as they attempt to get back to winning ways.