Sphinx made the short trip to near neighbours Bedworth Utd for this FA Cup replay after Saturday’s match ended in stalemate. Saturday’s match was very competitive and I was expecting no different this evening. Bedworth play at a higher level than Coventry Sphinx so it was a decent effort to take them to a replay but Sphinx travelled to the Oval still believing victory was achievable. I arrived at the ground to get a good look at their new 3G pitch and that combined with the ground improvements gave Bedworth a ground to be proud of. If you make the trip to the Oval then I urge you to give the Beduff Broth sold at Debz Shed a try. The best 50p I’ve spent in a long time that’s for sure!
Number 1 Sphinx keeper Carl O’Neill was only fit enough for the bench so teenage goalkeeper Jack Farthing took his place in goal and the only other change to the Sphinx side from Saturday was the introduction of striker Chris Gumery for midfielder Jackson Downie. A positive move from the gaffer Luke Hopkins and an early indication that if Sphinx went down they were going down fighting. The match got underway in front of a crowd that looked to number a good few hundred and the play was immediately as competitive as the first tie. Bedworth got the first shot in on goal after 5 minutes but it was a comfortable save for Farthing in the Sphinx goal. Sphinx went up the other end and Gumery showed great strength to hold the ball up then turn on the edge of the box to fire in a powerful shot just wide. It was a lively start from both sides with the tackles flying in and the crowd were engrossed in the contest. Cutting got a shot away for Sphinx that was easily saved and then Bedworth saw a looping header go wide. The deadlock was to be broken on the half hour mark by Bedworth. A cross from the right was met by a stooping Dubidat to give Bedworth the lead. A touch harsh on the Sphinx but it was Bedworth who claimed the important first goal. Sphinx were straight onto the front foot after the goal and came close to a rapid response. Great work from Cutting down the right saw him overpower the defender, reach the by-line and deliver a low cross that strike partner Gumery was inches away from touching into the net. This was followed by a good spell from Bedworth with their best moments coming from their right side. Sphinx weathered this short spell of Bedworth pressure and just before half time a free kick of their own swung in by Baxter was met by Jackson who headed wide. Still all to play for at Half Time and Sphinx were far from out of this contest.
HALF TIME: BEDWORTH UTD 1 COVENTRY SPHINX 0
Just minutes into the second half and the Sphinx keeper was called into action with a good save and the game continued as it had done in the first half with both sides highly competitive and looking for the crucial goal. It would have been easy for Sphinx to let their heads drop after being a goal down but they played with real determination to find the equaliser. On the hour mark some great play from Dainty led to him sliding in Cutting down the Sphinx left and his cross was just about cleared by the Bedworth defence. Sphinx were playing with real guts and I was proud to be supporting them tonight. Bedworth were looking a threat themselves and Farthing produced a tremendous double save in the Sphinx goal that Bedworth will feel they should have scored from. With 15 minutes to go Sphinx got the equaliser they had been working so hard for. A deep cross came in and there was skipper Ash JACKSON to send a header looping into the net much to the delight of the travelling Sphinx support. That goal set up an incredibly tense finish to an absorbing game. Both sides pushed for the winner but no goal came and we were into extra time.
FULL TIME: BEDWORTH UTD 1 COVENTRY SPHINX 1
The Sphinx had given everything they had and there were clearly some tired legs out there but they looked well up for the contest. A few minutes into extra time saw Bedworth retake the lead with a clinical header from a corner. Substitute Creaney was the scorer and before Sphinx had the chance to recover from the blow another goal was scored by Tullin to give Bedworth a two goal cushion. Sphinx did not deserve that but they looked dead on their feet. As tired as they looked they were still battling hard to get back in the game and a few minutes from the end Cutting had a great chance to set up a grandstand finish but the keeper kept him out at point blank range. The final score of Bedworth Utd 3 Coventry Sphinx 1 was very harsh on Sphinx but they can take so much from this performance. They took a higher league side to a replay and extra time and could have won the tie themselves. They displayed guts, desire and ability in abundance and every single one of the players and management team should be proud of their efforts. I, as a supporter, couldn’t be prouder of the sweat they gave for the Sphinx cause and if this youthful squad continue with that attitude then they’re going to have a very good season.
FINAL SCORE BEDWORTH UTD 3 COVENTRY SPHINX 1 AET – ATTENDANCE 225
MAN OF THE MATCH:
I could make a case for any of the Sphinx players today but my choice is Chris Gumery. He ran himself into the ground for his new club, held the ball up superbly and looked to bring his team mates into play at every opportunity.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: FARTHING, JACKSON (c), MULDOON (Galdins 105 mins), ROONEY, WILKS, BILIC, CUTTING, BAXTER, GUMERY (J.Downes 100 mins), DAINTY, CAIN (Downie 83 mins)
BEDWORTH UTD TEAM: HINDS, DEGVILLE-CROSS (Meakin-Richards 83 mins), TULLIN(c), WALTERS, FOLKES, FLETCHER, ROWE, WESTWOOD, NAUGHTON (Creaney 76 mins), DUBIDAT, BAINS (Harris 72 mins)
Forthcoming match for Coventry Sphinx: On Saturday 6th September Coventry Sphinx start their FA VASE campaign with a trip to Worcestershire to take on West Midlands Premier League side Bewdley Town. I’ll be there so come and join us and support the boys in blue and white!
#UTS #UPTHESPHINX #12THMAN