Sphinx returned to Sphinx Drive to take on Westfields on Saturday and it was set to be tough encounter with a high flying Westfields side. There were three changes to the starting line up after last weekends defeat at Walsall Wood. Bishop was replaced at right back by Taylor, Gumery replaced Cutting in attack and Jackson Downie returned to the team in midfield after a short stint away on loan at Heather St Johns. I for one was glad to see him back with the club and I was hoping to see him reproduce the form that got him into the side on a regular basis last season. He is still very young and I’m optimistic that he will have a positive impact on the team.
It was an uneventful start to the game but 10 minutes into the match Scott Dutton was called into action in the Sphinx goal. A Westfields corner was headed firmly towards goal and Dutton did well to tip the effort over the bar. The next corner came in which the defence failed to clear fully and that resulted in a low cross sending the ball back into the box which was dispatched at the far post by Jamie Cuss. A disappointing start for the home side that saw Westfields 1-0 up after 11 minutes. Sphinx needed to respond but Westfields continued the pressure on the Sphinx goal immediately after the restart. Sphinx weathered that short spell and a free kick from Jack Rooney provided Gumery with a chance that forced a good save from Matt Gwynne in the Westfields goal. A Sphinx corner quickly followed and a great delivery was met by a soaring Ash JACKSON who powered a header into the back of the net. 1-1 with 19 minutes on the clock. We had a game on our hands now and two quick bookings for Coventry Sphinx followed as they looked to assert themselves on the game. The game was fairly even and chances were limited. Both sides were looking to play the ball to feet at every opportunity and it made it a good game to watch. Westfields were persistently getting caught offside and if they could solve that problem then opportunities could come their way. All square at half time would have been a fair score but in the added time Sphinx pinched the lead. A great bit of skill from Cain on the left saw him cut inside and send in a cross that managed to evade everyone and nestle in the corner of the net. That was the last kick of the half and after going behind to an early goal Sphinx would have been delighted to go into the break with the lead.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 2 WESTFIELDS 1
Westfields had already shown us what a good side they were in the first half so it was no surprise when they equalised 9 minutes into the second half. A good ball through the centre of Sphinx’s defence was chested down by Jamie Cuss and he finished emphatically with a first time shot. Sphinx appealed for handball to no avail and the scores were level at 2-2. The two best players on the pitch for Sphinx, Downes and Downie, combined beautifully to set up Gumery which resulted in a corner which was cleared by the Westfields defence. That was to be Downie’s last contribution as he was substituted shortly after. Jackson Downie had an excellent game on his return and he showed us what we know he is capable of. If he can maintain that kind of performance then I’m sure he will be a first team regular. Twenty minutes to play and either side could win this now. Some good build up play saw Downes play Cain in down the right and his accurate cross was met by Dainty whose looping header was cleared off the line. Straight up to the other end and Jack Rooney was clearing off the line for Sphinx. It was end to end stuff now as both teams went all out for the winner. On 77 minutes Westfields grabbed the crucial goal that could decide the game. Some excellent play from them down the right resulted in a low cross being fired across the six yard box that was tapped in by Jamie Cuss to complete his hat-trick. A real blow for Sphinx and Manager Luke Hopkins made a late substitution by throwing on Kiam Galdins for the last ten minutes. Sphinx were leaving themselves open at the back as they searched for the equaliser. Scott Dutton needed to pull off a couple of good saves and the woodwork saved Sphinx from going further behind too. Westfields failure to take their chances was almost punished when Dainty set up Galdins but his firm shot was well held by the Westfields keeper as we approached the 90 minutes. More good work from Dainty set up Cain and his clever shot was only just kept out by a full stretch Matt Gwynne. In the 6th and final minute of added time Westfields sealed the win. Sphinx were caught out at the back and substitute Dan Polan completed the win with a fine finish. Sphinx played reasonably well despite the scoreline and both sides play the game on the floor which resulted in a really good game. I’m sure Westfields will finish in a good league position and Sphinx can take plenty of positives from their performance.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 2 WESTFIELDS 4
MAN OF THE MATCH:
Once again the willingness of the two young centre backs (Rickie Fletcher and Jack Rooney) to play from the back contributed greatly to the Sphinx style of play. The hold up play from centre forward Chris Gumery was excellent and he brings his team mates into play superbly. The stand out players for me were the two young lads in midfield. Luke Downes and Jackson Downie performed really well and their hard work alongside their ability on the ball make them a pleasure to watch. Difficult to split the pair but my choice for Man of the Match is Luke Downes.
Picture: Luke Downes and Jackson Downie combine. Thanks to Stephen Reg Cave for the photo
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM:
DUTTON, TAYLOR,JACKSON(c) (Coleman 84 mins), BAXTER, FLETCHER, ROONEY, L.DOWNES, DOWNIE (Ashby 67 mins), GUMERY (Galdins 79 mins), CAIN, DAINTY
Next match for Coventry Sphinx:
Away Wednesday 29th October Tipton Town (League Cup)
#UTS #UPTHESPHINX #12THMAN