FOOTBALL: A LATE first half goal helped Sheffield United U18s secure the National Championship final as Coventry City’s stars of tomorrow fell short at Bramall Lane.
Jason Farndon’s team conceded with just five minutes remaining in the opening half when Tyler Smith’s low ball was parried by City keeper Konrad Skuza – allowing Sheffield’s Jordan Hallam to score from the re-bound.
The loss ends what has been a successful year for the Coventry City Academy, a year which academy manager Richard Stevens – now in his tenth year at the academy – described to The Observer prior to Wednesday night’s game as ‘his best yet’.
City started the game on the back foot as Sheffield let two early chances slip when Norrington-Davies had a chance comfortably saved by Skuza.
A free-kick for the home side followed moments later before the Sky Blues started to settle into the final with 14 minutes on the board.
Farndon’s team had its first chance on 18 minutes when Tom Bayliss found Kyle Finn on the edge of the penalty area, though his effort was deflected and soon cleared by a strong Sheffield defence.
Norrington-Davies continued to prove himself as an awkward player to deal with for the Sky Blues as his accurate cross found Tyler Smith in the box – though his header went over Skuza’s crossbar.
Sheffield then took the lead ten minutes later through Jordan Hallam, and the home team held their precious one goal lead for the remaining five minutes of the first half.
Coventry started the second half on the back foot as goalscorer Hallam took a touch from a corner before blasting his effort wide.
Three clear chances then fell to City in the space of 20 minutes.
A delivery into the box from Billy Stedman just evaded the touch of Thompson before Kyle Finn’s header went wide moments later.
A corner was then cleared comfortably by the home side on 70 minutes before Sheffield played out the remaining 20 minutes of the game, winning by a goal to nil.