December’s Loan Watch 2012-13: John Cofie At Sheffield United
Sheffield United 2-1 Port Vale – 01/12/2012
Sheffield United miraculously turned this FA Cup game on its head as they went into injury time a goal down, only to emerge victorious with two goals from Shaun Miller in injury time sending them into the hat for the third round.
John Cofie was introduced in the 66th minute, and was on the left wing of a 4-2-4 formation as the Blades were chasing the game after going a goal behind courtesy of Tom Pope’s effort in the 33rd minute of the game. He was a lot more involved in the game than in previous appearances, and caused problems with his pace as he looked to run at the Vale defenders at every opportunity. He put some decent crosses in and had a couple of tame efforts at goal and generally looked lively in the 30 minutes he had on the pitch (including injury time).
Coventry City 1-1 Sheffield United (Coventry win 4-1 on pens) – 04/12/2012
Cofie made a rare start when the Blades made the trip to the Ricoh Arena for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Area Quarter Final. Sadly for him, he couldn’t really get in the game and barely had a touch of the ball throughout, with the exception of a blocked shot and winning his side a couple of free kicks. He was eventually substituted in the 72nd minute of the game and replaced by 17 year old prospect Diego De Girolamo.
Crawley Town 0-2 Sheffield United – 22/12/2012
The Blades ran out 2-0 winners away at Crawley, in what can only be described as awful conditions. The torrential day long down pour put the match in considerable doubt, and the journey down for the 1,261 travelling support from Sheffield wasn’t pleasant as driving conditions were horrific throughout the day.
In truth, this was an awful game of football and it was two moments of sheer brilliance from right back Tony McMahon which won the game. They were his first goals for the club, and they were both sublime free kicks. The first was just before the half hour mark, as he curled into the bottom corner from 25 yards out beating Red Devils’ keeper Paul Jones to his left. His second was even better. Ironside won the Blades a free kick 30 yards out, and McMahon fired it in over the wall into the top corner in the 72nd minute, with goalkeeper Jones despairingly diving to his left despite having no chance of getting there.
John Cofie was introduced in the 81st minute, and only had a couple of touches of the ball as Crawley dominated possession whilst the Blades soaked up the pressure. He chased down defenders well, and his touches were neat and tidy to help maintain the Blades two goal lead. His side would now go top of the league at Christmas due to various postponements around League One due to the adverse weather conditions.
Sheffield United 3-0 Scunthorpe United – 26/12/2012
Sheffield United maintained their position at the top of League One with a convincing win over Scunthorpe at Bramall Lane, thanks to goals from Shaun Miller, Dave Kitson and a penalty from Nick Blackman.
John Cofie was introduced at half time after Shaun Miller’s injury, and got a good chance to impress. He looked quite lively but didn’t really contribute to the game as much as he would have liked. He had a couple of moments where he ran at defenders and utilised his pace well, but he often let himself down by trying to be too clever instead of taking the simple option which could have created chances for himself or his team mates.
For me, he showed a real lack of anticipation and didn’t read flick-ons or crosses well enough to get into a good position and hurt Scunthorpe.
Sheffield United 2-3 Hartlepool United
This was a hugely disappointing result for the Blades as bottom club Hartlepool claimed their first away victory of the season. Steve Howard scored twice, either side of a strike from Ritchie Humphreys to give the Monkeyhangers a deserved victory. Michael Doyle and a consolation goal from Harry Maguire scored the goals for Sheffield United.
After learning that Shaun Miller’s injury in the previous game turned out to be a serious cruciate ligament injury, Cofie was handed a rare league start for the Blades. Sadly for him, this didn’t go too well. He was partnered with the vastly experienced Dave Kitson, and struggled to get into the game. He had one shot of note; a decent volley on the turn from the edge of the box which was easily saved by Scott Flinders, but the heavy pitch and poor weather conditions didn’t seem to bring the best out of the Manchester United loanee.
Again, he didn’t seem to know where to run for flick-ons and never really got into a dangerous position. He also didn’t close down Hartlepool defenders when they were in possession, which frustrated a lot of Blades fans who have accused Cofie of being lazy and thinking he was too big to play at this level. With Miller being ruled out for the rest of the season, however, he has a massive chance to show everybody what he’s made of and make his loan spell a lot more successful than it has been to date.
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