Match Report: Coventry United 0-4 Sheffield United

A Thursday night at Barker’s Butt Arena saw Sheffield United visit to play Coventry United in the Continental Cup with the floodlights on and the teams making their way onto the pitch it was game time. For me so many old links with the ex Villa player on both teams so a cracking game to be able to get to see.
 
It was Sheffield United on the front foot as you might expect with Veatrikki Sarri and Katie Wilkinson both having efforts that came to nothing. But it wasn’t long before the pressure turned into a goal as Veatrikki Sarri lofted a free kick into the box and the cross was met by Leandra Little who header her effort into the back of the net to give Sheffield United a 0-1 lead after 9 minutes. Coventry couldn’t seem to get a foothold in the game as Sheffield put the pressure on looking for the second.
 
It all seemed to be one way as Coventry held in after Veatrikki Sarri, Chloe Dixon and Jade Pennock all had chances but couldn’t trouble the scorers. Chloe Dixon’s effort was the closest as it clipped the top of the crossbar and went over. 
 
The pressure was too much for Coventry though when, who else but the goal scoring machine Katie Wilkinson doubled The Blades lead as once again Veatrikki Sarri assisted with a beautiful cross that Wilko headed home into the back of the net on the 33rd minute.
 
It was nearly 0-3 on the 41st minute when Sue Wood showed just why she is one of the best goalkeepers in the division when she somehow pulled off an incredible save from Katie Wilkinson at close range. Veatrikki Sarri was really showing her class in the first half and was unplayable and unstoppable at times.
 
Coventry tried to battle their way back into it but really feel they missed Shannon O’Brien’s tenacity up front as they tried to get in behind an impressive Sheffield defence. The half time whistle went with Sheffield 0-2 up and looking good for their lead. Coventry would feel they could add more and were still in the game.
 
Sheffield made a half time substitute with Keri Matthews replacing Lucy Watson. It was Sheffield that came out again strong again but Coventry were defending pretty well.
 
The first real chance of the half came with Katie Wilkinson nearly doubling her tally but her effort went straight to the well positioned Sue Wood in the Coventry goal just before the hour mark. The chance came after an incredible ball by Maddy Cusack that split the Coventry defence in two.
 
On the 61st minute Alice Hassall was replaced by Amy Wathan. On the 65th minute Sheffield made a double substitution which just shows the depth they have in the squad. Melissa Johnson and Courtney Sweetman-Kirk came on for Katie Wilkinson and Rhema Lord-Mears. The scored become 0-3 on the 66th minute when Jade Pennock pounced on a loose ball at the back but her finish was sublime with a perfect looped chip into the net over Sue Wood.
 
Maddy Cusack went on a run and it seemed no one could stop her as she got her shot off but Sue Wood saved it, it would of been some goal if it had of gone in.
 
Coventry were playing better in the second half but Sheffield were still too strong for them, but a plus for Coventry is they never gave up the effort was always there for them trying to create and get themselves on the score sheet. 
On the 72nd minute Hayley Crackle was replaced by Chelsea Weston for Coventry. Sheffield brought on Alethea Paul on for Jade Pennock on the 75th minute.
 
It was 0-4 when Melissa Johnson showed just why you can’t give her a second in front of goal. A corner from Veatrikki Sarri saw the ball fall to Melissa Johnson who quickly reacted to smash the ball home on the 77th minute.
 
A fear would have been that Coventry could have crumbled but they didn’t they still kept trying to force the play. Sophie Walton came onto the pitch for Kasia Lipka on the 81st minute. Chelsea Weston hit a long range effort but it didn’t trouble Becky Flaherty.
 
It was nearly Sheffield that added a fifth in the final minutes of the game though as Courtney Sweetman-Kirk came close as her effort went just wide of the post.
 
The Full time whistle went with Sheffield United walking away with a 0-4 win.
 
Coventry United – Sue Wood (C), Hayley Crackle, Georgia Popple, Nikki Miles, Holly Chandler, Alice Hassall, Becky Anderson, Katy Morris, Phoebe Warner, Amber Hughes, Anna Colville = Substitutes – Amy Whathan for Alice Hassall (61), Chelsea Weston for Hayley Crackle (72).
 
Sheffield United – Becky Flaherty, Chloe Dixon, Lenadra Little (C), Naomi Hartley, Veatrikki Sarri, Maddy Cusack, Kasia Lipka, Rhema Lord-Mears, Jade Pennock, Katie Wilkinson, Lucy Watson = Substitutes – Keri Matthews for Lucy Watson (45), Melissa Johnson & Courtney Sweetman-Kirk for Katie Wilkinson & Rhema Lord-Mears (65), Sophie Walton for Kasia Lipka (81).
 
Photo: Adam Nunn