The second home game in the space of three days for Coventry Sphinx. After Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Brocton, where they had done enough to win the game, tonight’s visitors were Causeway Utd. Already Sphinx had a couple of injuries to contend with as striker Luke Williams (knee) and left back Jamie Coleman (broken toe) were missing. They were replaced by striker Chris Gumery who was making his first competitive start for Sphinx after his move from Coleshill and Adam Bilic came back into the side in midfield.
This was an important match for Sphinx and there was a good vibe around the ground but it was Causeway that got the first chance when they hit the bar inside the first minute. A warning for Sphinx that Causeway were not to be taken lightly. Within five minutes Sphinx had won their first corner. A decent delivery from Ashley Cain saw the ball fall to Luke Downes at the far post but he couldn’t keep his volley down and the ball sailed over the bar. Both sides were looking lively in the opening exchanges and the first goal was going to be crucial. Sphinx were steadily increasing their authority on the game and were playing well. In the twentieth minute another Cain corner found it’s way to Dainty who forced a good save with a powerful shot. Just minutes later the first goal came. A superb cross field ball picked out BILIC who had made a run from midfield and he produced a perfectly judged lob to beat the keeper. 1-0 Sphinx and a well earned lead for them. Causeway were still causing problems and on the half hour mark Sphinx had keeper O’Neill to thank for preserving the lead. A great save from O’Neill initially and then his quick reactions forcing Causeway to hit the post from close range with the follow up. Sphinx could breath again but minutes later they almost doubled their lead. Cain went on one of his trademark runs and picked out Gumery in the box who was squeezed out after attempting to find room to get a shot away. The next chance fell to Luke Downes. Downes had cut inside from the right and from at least 25 yards he unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner to leave the Causeway keeper grasping at thin air. A quite brilliant strike that wouldn’t have looked out of place in any level of football. 2-0 Sphinx after 35 minutes. Causeway were still looking for a goal of their own and this was allowing Sphinx to pick them off on the counter attack. One of which saw the excellent Downes go on a driving run to then pick out Cain who shot just over the bar. Then Gumery got another chance, after receiving the ball with his back to goal he turned well and got a shot off which was saved by the keeper. Causeway were struggling to contain Downes with his driving runs and it was no surprise when he was crudely hacked down from behind. The Causeway player had no chance of getting the ball and it was an act of pure frustration on his part. The challenge got the yellow card it deserved. Sphinx had got better as the half went on and went into the break with a deserved lead
HALF TIME COVENTRY SPHINX 2 CAUSEWAY 0
It was a reasonably quite start to the half with Sphinx keeping their shape and discipline well. Carl O’Neill was fairly comfortable in the Sphinx goal as Causeway resorted to more direct football in their search for a goal. Sphinx however always look a better side when they play their passing high energy game and they were looking on course for victory. In the 78th minute the three points were all but secured. Another mazy run from Cain saw him cut in from the right and as he drove into the penalty box he was brought down for a clear penalty. CAIN dusted himself down and promptly sent the keeper the wrong way to make it 3-0 to the Sphinx. Cain wasn’t finished yet and in the 85th minute he won a free kick which he delivered into the box resulting in 18 year old striker Nathaniel MCKENZIE heading home his first goal for Coventry Sphinx. 4-0 Sphinx but just enough time for one more goal and what a goal it was! Substitute McKenzie collected the ball just inside his own half by the right touchline, he looked up and produced arguably the pass of the match. He had spotted Cain making a run from the left touchline towards the penalty area and picked him out perfectly. Cain then hit a thunderous shot that went in off the crossbar to make it 5-0 with just a minute to go. A fantastic finish to the game that left the home support feeling they certainly got their moneys worth this evening!
FULL TIME COVENTRY SPHINX 5 CAUSEWAY 0
A quick word for the officials who were excellent. They were hardly noticed which is always a good sign. After a performance like that it was a difficult choice for Man of the Match. A clean sheet was a credit to O’Neill in goal, his defence and in particular centre back Jack Rooney who is only 17 years old but plays with an assurance beyond his years. The midfield was full of graft and flair and also included two teenagers in Luke Downes and Jackson Downie. Nathaniel McKenzie ,another teenager, came off the bench and in just 19 minutes provided a goal and an assist but it was the consistently productive runs of Ashley Cain and the two goals he bagged that just nicked it for me though. Playing up front has given him that freedom he thrives on and he puts the graft in too so my Man of the Match is Ashley Cain.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM:
O’NEILL, DAINTY, SHIELS, BILIC, ROONEY, WILKS, DOWNIE, L DOWNES, GUMERY, JACKSON, CAIN
CUTTING (on for DAINTY 61 mins), MCKENZIE (on for Gumery 71 mins), J DOWNES (on for DOWNIE 81 mins), TAYLOR, MULDOON
League QUORN away AUG 9th Saturday 3.00pm
League SHEPSHED DYNAMO HOME AUG 11th Monday 7.45pm
FA Cup HEATHER ST JOHNS away AUG 16th Saturday 3.00 pm