Coventry Sphinx 3 Westfields 1 – A hard fought victory

On Thursday evening Sphinx entertained Westfields at Sphinx Drive, Siddeley Avenue, Coventry in their third game in six days. Westfields arrived at the ground at exactly the same time as I did, which was just thirty minutes before kick off and as a result kick off was delayed by ten minutes. Not the best preparation for Westfields and the home support were hopeful that Sphinx could take advantage. This was an important game for Sphinx after back to back defeats on the road and they were looking to extend their impressive home record.

The match kicked off under the floodlights at a dry and cold Sphinx Drive and I was looking for Sphinx to start the game quickly with the right attitude and desire. Sphinx rarely let me down and after just 6 minutes Ashley JACKSON curled a free kick into the box which caught the keeper flat footed as the ball nestled in the bottom corner of the net. A perfect start for Sphinx and just what was needed after the disappointing defeat at highflying Quorn on Tuesday night. The goal really got Sphinx going and they were looking dangerous in attack and after 25 minutes Luke DOWNES increased the lead with a good finish from inside the box. 2-0 and I started to feel like a comfortable win was on the cards but Westfields were not beaten yet and started to have more of the play as the first half continued. Westfields had opportunities but failed to convert them and the half time break saw the teams go off with Sphinx holding a two goal lead. A healthy lead but Sphinx would need to continue the work rate and desire they showed in the first half to claim victory.

After a half time break at the pitch-side cafe I was ready for the second half and as long as it ended in a victory for Sphinx I was going home happy. With a run of games very close together I was expecting the Sphinx manager Luke Hopkins to make use of his substitutes and just five minutes into the second half he made his first change with Wilks replacing Galdins. Sphinx were having the better of the game but I felt another goal was needed to secure the points. Dyke replaced Dainty and shortly after that the third goal arrived. Substitute Wilks was played through on goal which looked a close offside call but the flag stayed down and WILKS ran on to stick the ball in the back of the net in the 72nd minute. That was surely game over now. The last Sphinx substitute saw Drake replace Bilic in the 82nd minute. Bilic had a good game especially considering it was his first start for months after being out with injury. Westfields were still looking for a goal and in the 83rd minute the referee awarded them a penalty which they promptly converted. It was too little too late for Westfields though as Sphinx saw out the game to secure a 3-1 victory which saw them take their home record to 11 WINS ,4 DRAWS  and just 2 DEFEATS in the league all season. Sphinx now sit in 7th place with a top six place still in their sights.

Man of the Match: A really tough one to call with this being a real team performance. The keeper O’Neill had another good game and the defence played well as a unit with the two centre backs Fowler and Fletcher solid. The midfield worked hard with Bilic performing really well on his return from injury. Cutting up front ran miles for the cause as usual but my choice for “Man of the Match” is Luke Downes who apart from his goal worked tirelessly for the team and showed real touches of quality alongside some welcome aggression.

COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: 1. O’NEILL 2. SULLIVAN 3. HILL 4. FOWLER 5. FLETCHER 6. JACKSON 7. GALDINS 8. BILIC 9. CUTTING 10. DOWNES 11. DAINTY Subs: WILKS (on for Galdins 50 mins), DYKE (on for Dainty 67 mins), DRAKE (on for Bilic 82nd min)

Saturday sees Sphinx play their fourth game in eight days against a Stourport Swifts side who are just one place below them in the Midland Alliance table. Sphinx Drive, Coventry is the venue for this top half clash and it’s one I eagerly await. Manager Luke Hopkins has signed three new players prior to this match and with the expected return of first team regulars Ashley Cain (winger) and Luke Williams (striker) he appears to now have good options available during this busy schedule of fixtures. It will be a good afternoon at The Drive with good football and good company so why not come down and give a local Coventry club some much needed and appreciated support. Only £5 entrance means you haven’t got a lot to lose but plenty to gain! A cracking clubhouse on site with bar facilities and a pitch side cafe serving hot food and drinks provides you with whatever refreshments you need.

FORTHCOMING COVENTRY SPHINX FIXTURES:

STOURPORT SWIFTS Saturday 22nd March HOME

HIGHGATE                   Tuesday  25th March  Away

GORNAL ATHLETIC    Saturday 29th March  HOME

#UPTHESPHINX

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