I’ve been watching the Coventry Sphinx Youth side regularly all season and for me this was their most impressive performance yet. The first Youth game I attended was purely because I had a few spare hours on my hands and fancied watching some football. I was impressed with their ability, team ethic and work rate and I was rapidly hooked on this talented team full of local lads. So, off to Nuneaton we travelled to see if the Sphinx Under 18 team could get revenge for their recent defeat to Nuneaton Town that saw them exit the FA Youth Cup. Sphinx suffered with some unfortunate injuries that night so I was confident they were capable of winning tonight. The team had a very familiar look and included first team regular Jack Rooney at centre back.
Both sides started off at high tempo in their search for the first goal. The Sphinx strikers, Kyle Moore and Kyle Jaynes, were immediately looking a threat to the Nuneaton defence and just minutes into the game Jaynes was steaming through on goal with just the keeper the beat. He appeared to be impeded by a pull of his shirt by the chasing defender but his strength allowed him to get a shot away. On another day that could well have been a penalty and a red card but it certainly warned the Nuneaton defence that they were going to be in for a tough evening. Sphinx didn’t have to wait long to get themselves in front because in the 12th minute the in form wide midfielder Jacob Dodds pounced to score the opening goal. The travelling Sphinx support were still celebrating when Jacob Dodds popped up again to drive in his second goal in a minute to give Coventry Sphinx a dream start. Plenty of time to play against a good Nuneaton side so still a lot of hard work ahead for the Sphinx. Nuneaton were forced to make a substitution in the 21st minute and with his first touch of the match Elliot Parrott pulled a goal back with a finish at the far post. The game was developing into an enthralling contest and Nuneaton had the better of the last twenty minutes before half time. Sphinx defended very well with Jack Rooney showing good leadership at the heart of the back four alongside Callum Drake. 17 year old Rooney has established himself in the first team this season and his development has been rapid. He has the makings of a very fine player indeed. Alongside him, Callum Drake goes about his business calmly and appears to thrive on defending and with Rooney’s ability to step out of defence and play they make an effective combination. Sphinx went into half time a goal up and with a good performance behind them. Nuneaton were well capable of getting back into the game and Sphinx were going to need to perform in the second half to come away with a victory.
HALF TIME: NUNEATON TOWN YOUTH 1 COVENTRY SPHINX YOUTH 2
The second half got underway and both sides were going all out for goals which made for a thrilling contest. Alex Jane came on at right midfield for Sphinx and was looking sharp. Jacob Dodds was proving a real menace to Nuneaton on the left with his pace and power and was having a fine game. Combine that with the work ethic, ability and pace of Jaynes and Moore up front and Jack Downes pulling the strings in midfield and Sphinx have a team capable of scoring goals. Both sides had their chances but it was Sphinx who got the all important goal in the 73rd minute. Kyle Jaynes was hauled down in the box for a clear cut penalty and his strike partner stepped up to calmly dispatch the spot kick. A two goal lead for Sphinx but this game was far from over. Determined defending from the whole team prevented Nuneaton from getting back into the game. Sphinx were still a constant threat to Nuneaton when they had the ball but there were to be no more goals and the Coventry Sphinx players, coaching staff and supporters were left to celebrate a well deserved victory.
FULL TIME: NUNEATON TOWN YOUTH 1 COVENTRY SPHINX YOUTH 3
MAN OF THE MATCH:
So many to choose from but what I will say is that every single player played their part in a tremendous team performance. Team spirit and work rate takes you a fair way but this team have ability to go with it and that makes for an impressive combination. Theobald had a good game in goal making some good saves and his distribution was good too. Jack Rooney was immense at centre back and his leadership skills were clear to see. Alex Jane came on at half time and was excellent out wide. Kyle Jaynes was highly impressive up front with a display full of energy, power and desire and deserved a goal for his efforts. Any one of those could have been my Man of the Match but my choice is Jacob Dodds. His performance out wide was excellent and he demonstrated pace, strength and ability in abundance. He has been knocking on the door of first team football for a while but tonight he was beating the door down. It will be no surprise to me should a number of these young players make the breakthrough into the first team before the season is out. Well done lads and if you continue to perform with that attitude then you will have a very good season. Also a special mention to coaches Stuart Fraser and Lynton Wilkinson who are clearly well respected by the players and are providing the platform for the young lads to go out and express themselves
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM:
THEOBALD, QUINNEY, TAYLOR DODDS, SEARLE (Barnwell – Edinboro 65 mins), ROONEY, DRAKE, HARDWICK (Jane 45 mins), DOWNES, MOORE, JAYNES, JACOB DODDS (Bailey 85 mins)
Next Coventry Sphinx Youth game:
HOME Thursday 6th November AFC WULFRUNIANS League Cup