A very warm, humid day and a car full of Sphinx fans were on their way to Whitnash to watch Coventry Sphinx play their penultimate pre-season friendly that was a late addition to the schedule. I was expecting Sphinx boss Luke Hopkins to make good use of his squad today and while there was a good amount of youngsters on display there were still a few first team regulars starting such as Carl O’Neill, Luke Williams, Gio Dainty, Adam Bilic and Rickie Cutting. The team was certainly strong enough to expect a victory and the biggest test could arguably be about to come from the playing conditions.
The early stages of the match was a scrappy affair with both sides struggling to put together decent passages of play. Sphinx were slowly out of the blocks but it was an even game in the oppressive heat. Midway through the first half the deadlock was broken. Whitnash launched a high ball into the box which wasn’t dealt with and the Whitnash forward turned to volley the ball home. 1-0 to Whitnash and a goal that was preventable to say the least. The goal seemed to give Sphinx a bit of a lift and just a minute later Sphinx striker Cutting turned in the box to get a shot away which was dealt with by the Whitnash defence. Sphinx were starting to get more of the game and a spell of pressure resulted in Muldoon shooting just wide. On 39 minutes Sphinx were level. Sphinx delivered a corner into the box and the ball fell at the feet of WILLIAMS who was ideally placed on the six yard box to drill it into the net. 1-1 and that was to be the score as the half time whistle went. I expected Sphinx would be disappointed with the score and the performance at this stage.
Second half underway after a brief break and the game continued in similar fashion to the first half. Scrappy at times with no real rhythm in the play but with the amount of new players in the Sphinx side today it was perhaps understandable. Sphinx boss Hopkins was having none of that though and was very animated on the touchline in driving his team on. A typical Rickie Cutting goal put Sphinx in the lead on 56 minutes. CUTTING chased down the keeper and pinched the ball from him with sheer determination and calmly positioned himself to shoot home from a tight angle. Just a couple of minutes later and Sphinx were 3-1 up after a cross was turned into his own goal by a Whitnash defender. Sphinx were now in a comfortable looking position and more Youth players were given some valuable experience in senior football. What was looking like a Sphinx victory was put into some doubt when a well executed lob pulled a goal back for Whitnash to make it Whitnash 2 Coventry Sphinx 3 after 81 minutes and all doubt was removed when Whitnash equalised in the 89th minute. A draw looked like the final score but Sphinx went down the other end and won themselves a corner. The corner was delivered to the far post where substitute GALDINS rose highest to head emphatically into the net! 4-3 to the Sphinx and before the keeper had the chance to pick the ball out of the net the referee blew the whistle for full time. A last gasp victory if ever there was one.
I’ve watched Sphinx perform much better than that but Whitnash gave a good account of themselves and were unfortunate to lose the game. The positives for Sphinx were they came away with another victory after being a goal down, scored 4 more goals and got valuable game time into some new additions/youth players. The last pre-season fixture for Sphinx is on Tuesday at Sphinx Drive against local rivals Bedworth Utd. I’m expecting a strong Sphinx team and a highly competitive match to complete their pre-season campaign.