A clash of two mid table sides at Sphinx Drive as we welcomed AFC Wulfrunians to Coventry today. Sphinx have been struggling for form recently so a result was important to get their season back on track. A couple of returns to the side gave us cause for optimism as number one keeper Carl O’Neill took his place in goal after a short spell on the side-lines with injury and a surprise return for striker Nic Evangelinos who has a good record when he turns out for Coventry Sphinx. Other than that, it was the same team that had started the previous game at Continental Star.
It was a scrappy start to the game and in all fairness it was lacking in quality as both sides were struggling to come to life. Both sides were defending reasonably well and the keepers were not being seriously tested. Mid-way through the half and Wulfrunians were edging the midfield battle and their defence were comfortably clearing the long balls up to Sphinx striker Opoku. The unusual direct style of play from Sphinx wasn’t working and the first shot on the Wulfrunians goal came after some good passing football created an opportunity for Evangelinos to shoot just wide. Luke Downes had combined well with the right back Prichard to create the chance and it was perhaps a clue as to the best way forward for Sphinx. A minute later Wulfrunians responded with a long range effort that crashed off the bar with O’Neill well beaten in the Sphinx goal. A let off for Sphinx as the game threatened to come to life. Wulfrunians were persistently being caught offside but they beat the trap eventually as Thompson raced through on goal. His poor touch allowed O’Neill the chance to come out and clear but he made no mistake minutes later as Thompson lobbed the keeper after Sphinx had carelessly conceded possession from a throw in. Sphinx were 1-0 down in the 41st minute and it was almost two a minute later as McDonald got in down the right only to shoot wide from a good position. It was no surprise to see Sphinx go into half time a goal down and they could have no complaints after failing to test Brown in the Wulfrunians goal.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 AFC WULFRUNIANS 1
A big improvement was needed from Sphinx in this half and there was a noticeable increase in the energy of their play in the early stages of the second half. The first chance of the half fell to Wulfrunians as the Sphinx offside trap was breached by McDonald but once again O’Neill was on his toes to clear the danger. Soon after, Luke Downes came to life and produced a tremendous dribble to get himself into a shooting position but he shot wide from the edge of the box. Manager Luke Hopkins then made his first change as the ineffective Opoku was replaced by new signing Declan Price. Wulfrunians were looking relatively comfortable as Sphinx only threatened sporadically. There was a half chance for Jack Rooney but his looping header went over the bar and then came Sphinx’s best chance of the game. Luke Downes hit a cracker of an effort but Brown in the Wulfrunians goal was equal to it as he acrobatically tipped it over the bar. Ricky Fletcher went close from the resulting corner but they were to be the best chances Sphinx would get. Despite the below par performance, Sphinx were not giving up but there was no way through the stubborn Wulfrunians defence. As time was running out Sphinx left themselves open at the back and Wulfrunians took advantage to seal the win in the 85th minute as McDonald got the goal he had been threatening to get. A disappointing defeat and performance from Coventry Sphinx today and a deserved win for AFC Wulfrunians.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 AFC WULFRUNIANS 2
MAN OF THE MATCH: Matt Taylor
A relatively easy decision today as I thought Matt Taylor stood out with his quality on the ball at centre back. Excellent in one on one situations and a good reader of the game, his distribution was excellent and his willingness to always try to play the ball out of defence was a bright light in an average team performance.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM:
O’NEILL, PRICHARD, DAINTY, MEWIES (Dodds 77 mins), TAYLOR, FLETCHER, J.DOWNES, ROONEY, EVANGELINOS, OPOKU (Price 63 mins), L.DOWNES
Next Coventry Sphinx fixture: HOME – BOLDMERE ST MICHAELS Saturday 28th March 3pm