Sphinx were at home again after their overwhelming 10-0 demolition of Tipton Town on Monday night and they were set to face bottom of the league Heath Hayes who were still awaiting their first league victory. A betting man would have this down as a clear home victory but football doesn’t always work like that and Sphinx were going to have to perform to claim the points. Three enforced changes for Coventry Sphinx today with Dainty returning to the side in an unfamiliar centre back position, Fallon taking the role between the sticks due to Carl O’Neill and his understudy Jack Farthing being unavailable and Adam Bilic returning from a knock to replace the suspended Kyle Baxter in midfield. A strong looking line up with the exception of a make shift looking defence and keeper but still every reason to have confidence in a positive result today.
We had barely had chance to settle into the game when Heath Hayes got an early goal to put themselves in the lead in the 3rd minute of the match. A sloppy goal to concede with the Sphinx third choice keeper only able to parry a shot straight back to the feet of the waiting Green who gladly put the rebound into the net. A poor start for Sphinx but the perfect start for the visitors. Neither side managed any significant periods of possession but in the 12th minute Cutting was put through with a great pass but his weak shot failed to trouble the keeper. Heath Hayes direct style was causing the Sphinx defence all sorts of trouble in the early stages but they couldn’t take advantage. Another chance came to Sphinx striker Cutting but his shot was saved well by Ware in the Heath Hayes goal. Then the visitors had a gilt edged chance to double the lead when they hit the ball wide of a gaping goal. A huge let off for Sphinx and minutes later Fallon in the Sphinx goal was forced to push a shot wide. Heath Hayes were looking the most likely to score next but against the run of play Sphinx got the break they needed when the referee awarded a penalty. It looked a soft penalty from my vantage point but after the referee pointed to the spot for a foul on Rickie Cutting his strike partner GUMERY stepped up to put the penalty away. 1-1 after half an hour and after the way the game had been going Sphinx could consider themselves fortunate. The goal gave Sphinx a bit of a lift and they were soon to get a great chance to take the lead themselves. A hopeful ball played from the right into the penalty box was completely missed by the defender and Cutting found himself in the box with the ball at his feet and just the keeper to beat. The Heath Hayes keeper closed him down, stayed on his feet and denied Cutting the goal. Still 1-1 and a scoreline I would have settled for going into half time. Heath Hayes had other ideas and two minutes before the break they took the lead once again. Waple found himself clean through on goal and his fairly weak shot wrong footed the Sphinx keeper to trickle into the bottom corner of the net. Sphinx went into the break 2-1 down and it was no more they deserved to be fair.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 1 HEATH HAYES 2
Sphinx were going to need to improve in this half if they were to take anything from this game and just 3 minutes into the second period they were awarded another penalty. Captain Ash Jackson fired in a shot and the referee judged that he had been caught by the defender and pointed straight to the spot. GUMERY once again stepped up and drove the ball straight down the middle to equalise. That’s now 7 goals in 3 games for Gumery who is on a red hot streak of goal-scoring. Two penalties had kept Sphinx in the game and the question was could they now take advantage or would Heath Hayes get themselves in front again. Heath Hayes kept on putting the Sphinx defence under pressure and a sustained spell was developing but they were unable to genuinely test the Sphinx keeper. Sphinx were living dangerously at the back and manager Luke Hopkins responded with his first substitution with Jackson Downie replacing Bilic in midfield. Sphinx were getting the odd chance and the best of those saw Jackson shooting over from distance. Just after this Sphinx had another let off as a Heath Hayes shot thumped against the cross bar. Play went straight down the other end as Cutting got himself one on one with the keeper but in his attempt to round him he lost his footing and the chance was gone. Both sides were going for the win and Jack Downes joined the play to replace Kiam Galdins on the right of midfield. Within minutes Jack Downes did really well to release Cutting down the right but his cross came to nothing. Heading into the last ten minutes and either side looked like they could pinch the 3 points but neither side could find the goal in the end. The match ended with the scores all square at 2-2 and in the end it was a point Sphinx could be happy with after a below average display. Heath Hayes however worked hard for each other and if they continue with that attitude then they have every chance of getting themselves out of trouble.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 2 HEATH HAYES 2 ATTENDANCE 76
MAN OF THE MATCH:
No stand out performances today but Rickie Cutting continued to find himself in the right place to score and on another day could have had a hat-trick. Luke Downes tried to play the ball the right way despite his team struggling to get into gear. However, my Man of the Match goes to skipper Ash Jackson who lead by example in an attempt to get his side going.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: FALLON, DAINTY, COLEMAN, ROONEY, JACKSON(c), BILIC (Downie 67mins), GALDINS (J.Downes 74mins), CUTTING, GUMERY (Hardwick 84mins), L.DOWNES, BISHOP. Unused: Taylor, Dodds
HEATH HAYES TEAM: Ware, Brain ,Burgwin, Deguille, Arrowsmith, Wright, Scragg, Davis, Waple(c), Green (84mins), Langley. Unused: Maddox, Hewitt
NEXT FIXTURE FOR COVENTRY SPHINX:
HOME REDDITCH UNITED Monday 22nd September 7.45pm Birmingham Senior Cup
#UTS #UPTHESPHINX #12THMAN