The Black Country was the destination this weekend as Coventry Sphinx made their way to Lye Town looking for their first league away win of the season. The ground is in the heart of town and while it is in need of modernisation it is a cracking little ground to watch football. The pitch is shared with a cricket club so as a result there is a stand with seating along one side of the pitch and covered standing behind one goal. No need for the shelter today though as it was a pleasant early autumn day.
Gaffer Luke Hopkins was without the services of three experienced players. Striker Luke Williams was out with a long term injury, keeper Carl O’Neill was still recovering from a fractured finger and forward Ashley Cain was unavailable due to an ankle injury. Also missing was young midfielder Adam Bilic who suffered a dead leg in the previous match. A few injuries to contend with but a reasonably deep squad enabled Hopkins to name a strong looking line up. Teenager Jack Farthing took his place in goal again, Coleman started in the centre of defence in place of the rested teenager Jack Rooney and the two recent signings, Bishop and Barnett, started at right back and right midfield respectively. Starting with Gumery and Cutting up front indicated that Sphinx were looking to be positive in their search for a result.
The game got underway in front of a decent travelling support again and the initial exchanges were mainly centred in the midfield with neither side gaining the upper hand in a scrappy start. The match was a competitive and even affair but midway through the first half we still hadn’t seen either keeper seriously tested. However, just before the half hour mark it was the Sphinx keeper who had to be alert as a Lye Town striker was played through on goal. Farthing rushed out decisively to avert the danger with a decent save. A few minutes later Lye were awarded a penalty after a foul from Sphinx’s Gio Dainty. No real complaints with the decision and Anslow stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way and subsequently give Lye Town the lead in the 33rd minute. Disappointing to go a goal down but it had been an even contest up to then so Sphinx had every chance of getting back into the match. Shortly after the goal Sphinx won a free kick on the corner of the penalty box after good work from Barnett but the set piece came to nothing. A drive from an acute angle was well saved by Farthing in the Sphinx goal to keep the deficit down to one goal and shortly after Sphinx got their equaliser. Sharp play between Baxter and Barnett from a quickly taken short corner fed Luke Downes on the corner of the box who chipped the ball to the far post for the incoming captain Ash JACKSON to head home. That’s three goals in three games for Jackson which is good going for a striker never mind a left back! 1-1 with 42 minutes gone. The goal gave Sphinx a clear lift and just before half time they were denied what looked to be a penalty when Barnett was hauled down in the box. The referee was having none of it and we went into the break with the scores level at 1-1. A fair scoreline and all to play for in the second half.
HALF TIME: LYE TOWN 1 COVENTRY SPHINX 1
Sphinx took the lift they got from the goal late in the first half into the second half and were showing much more of a cutting edge to their play. Sphinx were looking more likely to get the next goal and striker Gumery was only denied by a superb tip over the bar after his long range drive was seemingly heading for the top corner. Then some great one touch football put right back Bishop through into the box but a Lye defender just got across to put the ball out for a corner. The resulting corner fell to Dainty and his deflected shot forced a good reaction save from Stevens in the Lye goal. The pressure was mounting and when the ball came to GUMERY he made no mistake in rifling the ball across the keeper to give Sphinx a deserved lead in the 65th minute
The goal stirred Lye Town into action and just minutes later the scores were level again. Anslow bagged his second as he ran through the heart of the Sphinx defence and finished neatly to make it 2-2 in the 69th minute. Sphinx were coming under pressure themselves now and the substitute Russell was proving particularly troublesome to the Sphinx defence as he started to find space. In the 75th minute it took a great saving tackle from Bishop in the Sphinx defence to keep the scores level. Ten minutes from full time Lye Town got the goal that appeared to be coming. It was no surprise that Russell was the man to score as he had looked a threat since he had come on. He showed good strength to get away his shot and a deflection ensured Farthing was beaten in the Sphinx goal. Lye Town 3 Coventry Sphinx 2 with ten minutes to play. Sphinx pushed for the equaliser but despite getting in some efforts on goal they couldn’t find the goal to get the point. The best effort was a powerful strike from Gumery that was pushed over the bar. A disappointing defeat for Sphinx after going in front mid way through the second half which left them still searching for their first away point of the season.
FULL TIME: LYE TOWN 3 COVENTRY SPHINX 2
MAN OF THE MATCH:
Once again Jack Farthing made some important saves in the Sphinx goal, captain Ash Jackson got himself on the score-sheet once again and new recruit David Barnett showed some intelligent play. However, my Man of the Match goes to Chris Gumery who scored an excellent goal and looked the most likely to score for Sphinx all afternoon.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: FARTHING, BISHOP, JACKSON(c), COLEMAN, WILKS,BAXTER (Downie 85mins), BARNETT (Galdins 72mins), CUTTING, GUMERY, L.DOWNES, DAINTY Unused subs: Rooney, Taylor, Muldoon
HOME – TIPTON TOWN Monday 15th September 7.45pm kick off
HOME – HEATH HAYES Saturday 20th September 3.00pm kick off
#UTS #UPTHESPHINX #12THMAN