A difficult away match today for Coventry Sphinx as they made the trip to a Boldmere St Michaels side who had only suffered three league defeats all season. Coventry Sphinx travelled hopeful of a result after an encouraging performance against Stourport last weekend. Just two changes to the starting line up for Sphinx as the experienced duo of Ash Wilks and Ash Jackson were replaced. Jamie Coleman came into the side at left back and new signing David Blenkinsopp started up front. Blenkinsopp has joined Sphinx on loan from neighbours Bedworth Utd and I was looking forward to seeing what he had to offer. Manager Luke Hopkins had opted for a five man midfield with the wide players, Dodds and Dainty, supporting the striker.
The Boldmere grounds staff had done a remarkable job to make the pitch playable after all the rain that had fallen recently. The pitch looked heavy but it was perfectly playable as we got underway in dry conditions. Sphinx were having all the play in the opening minutes but it was Boldmere who opened the scoring with their first real attack of the match. Boldmere got in down the left and a low centre across the face of goal was steered in by Beckley. Five minutes on the clock and 1-0 to the home side. A dreadful start for Sphinx but they had been playing well before the goal and continued to play well after the goal. Sphinx looked the most likely to score next and they came close in the 20th minute as successive corners lead to shots from Downie and Dodds. This was swiftly followed by some good play between Downes and Blenkinsopp that saw the ball going just wide of goal. An equaliser was surely going to come and a golden chance came on the half hour mark as Sphinx were given a penalty after Blenkinsopp went down in the box. Luke DOWNES stepped up and dispatched the kick into the bottom corner to level the scores and it was no more than Sphinx deserved. Another great chance for Sphinx saw Luke Downes put his low shot inches wide of the post after being set up by Dainty and we went into half time with the scores level but Sphinx had the better of the half and will feel they should have been leading.
Luke Downes in the thick of the action (Picture by Stephen Reg Cave)
HALF TIME: BOLDMERE ST MICHAELS 1 COVENTRY SPHINX 1
Boldmere started the second half looking like a different side as they stepped up their game significantly. They had chances to score including a header over the bar and a fierce strike that Carl O’Neill did well to parry. Shortly after, a thunderous strike from Lewis crashed against the bar as Sphinx were struggling to contain the reinvigorated home side. The next chance for Boldmere resulted in the goal that had been coming since the half started as Beckley produced a fine finish into the corner to give the home side the lead in the 63rd minute. Sphinx manager Luke Hopkins responded with the introduction of striker Rickie Cutting but the chances were still coming for Boldmere. Another striker was introduced by Hopkins as Sphinx looked for the equaliser. In the 78th minute we had a brief spell of play that settled the game. Initially, Cutting got through the defence and the keeper rushed out of his box to clear but the ball only got as far as Blenkinsopp as he produced a superb chip over the stranded keeper that unfortunately hit the bar. Boldmere promptly went straight up the other end and scored their third to seal the win. A hat-trick for the impressive Beckley and an equally impressive improvement from the Boldmere St Michaels team in the second half. Beckley wasn’t finished yet and he got a fourth in the dying moments to cap a miserable end for Sphinx. The young Sphinx side were more than a match for their opponents but the difference was Boldmere’s physicality and the top quality performance from their striker Beckley. A deserved victory for the home side in the end and disappointment for Sphinx after such a promising first half performance.
Carl O’Neill claims the ball (Picture by Stephen Reg Cave)
MAN OF THE MATCH: Jack Rooney
Blenkinsopp looks a promising addition and I’m hopeful we’ll be seeing more from him in a Sphinx shirt. He had a tough task today in his lone striker role but he showed flashes of quality and worked hard for his team. Luke Downes looked to create in midfield and had a decent game. My Man of the Match is Jack Rooney who worked his socks off in midfield and is a fine example to any Youth player looking to make the breakthrough into first team football.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: O’NEILL, BISHOP, COLEMAN, ROONEY, FLETCHER, TAYLOR, DODDS (Cutting 70 mins), DOWNIE, BLENKINSOPP (Jaynes 89 mins), DOWNES, DAINTY (Gumery 75 mins)
Next Coventry Sphinx match:
HOME – CONTINENTAL STAR Saturday 29th November 3pm kick off
#UTS #UPTHESPHINX #12THMAN