Walsall Wood 2 Coventry Sphinx 1 – Sphinx slip to narrow defeat

Sphinx made the relatively short trip to Walsall Wood as their search for a first league away win continued. The travelling Sphinx support were in reasonably optimistic mood before the match and despite a number of changes to the starting line up, the side looked a strong one. In goal, regular keeper Carl O’Neill was replaced by Scott Dutton who is on loan from Championship club Wolves. There was a change at right back as Lewis Bishop started after his good substitute performance in the last match at Rocester. Captain Ash Jackson returned in the centre of midfield and Gio Dainty returned after a brief stint on the side-lines with an injury. Finally Rickie Cutting replaced top scorer Chris Gumery in attack due to Gumery’s unavailability.

The Sphinx fans were barely out of the bar when Sphinx took an early lead with a sensational strike. There were just 90 seconds on the clock when Dainty laid the ball back to Luke DOWNES outside the area and he unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner to get Sphinx off to the best possible start. After such a good start, the game settled down and both sides appeared well matched. On 15 minutes Walsall Wood made it difficult for Sphinx to clear the ball from their area but the pressure was ended with a comfortable save by Scott Dutton in the Sphinx goal. Luke Downes then went an excellent run that got Sphinx deep into Walsall Wood territory. Superb play from Downes that took the pressure off his defence and he had started the game well, no doubt boosted by his spectacular goal. Walsall Wood were defending with a high line and that suited the Sphinx strike force of Cain and Cutting who were looking a threat in behind. It was Cain who was to test the keeper next as he collected a through ball and drove on into the box to force the keeper to push his effort around the post. On the half hour mark Cain again got through but it was a comfortable save for Kisiel in the Walsall Wood goal. There were to be no more goals in this half and Sphinx had done enough to hold the lead. Walsall Wood had their fair share of possession but didn’t do enough to seriously test Dutton in the Sphinx goal.

HALF TIME: WALSALL WOOD 0 COVENTRY SPHINX 1

Sphinx haven’t got a good record at keeping clean sheets so they were probably going to need another goal to get a good result today. Walsall Wood came out eager to get back into the game and were steadily increasing the pressure on the Sphinx goal. 12 minutes into the half and Walsall Wood got the goal they had been searching for. Sphinx again struggled to clear the danger and were eventually punished when the ball fell nicely to Max Black who hit home from close range to equalise. The goal only served to fire up Walsall Wood even further and Sphinx continued to suffer pressure on their goal and 10 minutes after the equaliser they fell behind as Walsall Wood bagged another. Walsall Wood were again entrenched in the Sphinx penalty area and the danger seemed to have passed but Walsall Woods Scott Cooper had other ideas. He had his back to goal in a seemingly impossible shooting position but he hit a volley on the turn that flew into the bottom corner. A spectacular looking strike that put Walsall Wood 2-1 up and in the driving seat. Walsall Wood were looking like they were going to go on and win this game now. Sphinx were not getting enough possession to enable themselves to seriously threaten the opposition goal by this point. Sphinx boss Luke Hopkins made full use of his subs and made all three changes within minutes. It did little to change the course of the game however and Scott Dutton in the Sphinx goal had to produce a superb close range save to stop Walsall Wood extending their lead. A deserved victory for the hosts in the end and a disappointing defeat for the visitors after starting the game so well.

FULL TIME: WALSALL WOOD 2 COVENTRY SPHINX 1

MAN OF THE MATCH:

Luke Downes scored a cracker and worked hard for the cause. His goal was his eighth of the season which is an impressive return for a midfield player. Bishop again looked a threat going forward from right back and Gio Dainty put in his usual reliable performance on the left of midfield. However, my Man of the Match goes to the Captain Ash Jackson. He led by example in his efforts to get a result for his team. He never shirks a challenge and was a fine example to his team mates.

COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: DUTTON, BISHOP (Taylor 73 mins), COLEMAN (Wilks 73 mins), BAXTER, FLETCHER, ROONEY, L.DOWNES, JACKSON (c) (Bilic 78 mins), CUTTING, CAIN, DAINTY

Next fixture for Coventry Sphinx:

HOME- Westfields – Saturday 25th October 3pm kick off

#UTS #UPTHESPHINX #12THMAN

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