We were on the road again as we made the journey to the picturesque Stourport-on-Severn for a match between two mid table sides that had little to play for. A solid display in the last game had produced a 1-0 victory for Sphinx so it was no surprise that Sphinx manager Luke Hopkins made just one change with Youth team attacking midfielder Jacob Dodds coming in for the unavailable Ashley Cain.
The pitch was fairly dry but in good condition as we got underway in warm spring sunshine. It was a slow start from both teams as it became clear that both sides had little to play for other than pride. In fact, we had to wait until the 18th minute before we had the first serious chance. Sphinx wide man Dodds went on a run down the right that started on the half way line and as the Stourport full back kept backing off he found himself in the box where he cut inside to hit a firm drive that was well saved by Bunn. The next good chance fell to Stourport after Parsons-Smith was played through in the inside right channel. O’Neill saved well with his legs and he had to repeat the feat a minute later as Maund had an identical chance. Dodds was looking the main attacking threat for Sphinx as Stourport struggled to cope with his pace. Dodds was fouled on the edge of the box to win a free kick for Sphinx which came to nothing but it was an indication of the threat Dodds possessed. Sphinx were looking comfortable in possession and were having plenty of the ball in defensive and midfield areas. Their downfall was once again in the attacking third as they failed to convert possession into chances. As we approached the break Sphinx produced a lovely passage of football through the midfield to release Rooney on the right and he picked out Quinn on the edge of the box who shot inches wide. A reasonable performance from Sphinx in the first half as they contained Stourport well but didn’t threaten enough themselves.
HALF TIME: STOURPORT SWIFTS 0 COVENTRY SPHINX 0
The second half was a quiet affair in all honesty and it seemed that one goal could well settle this contest. in the first half Jack Rooney had been getting forward a lot from his right back position and Stourport had come back out looking to exploit this. They were now playing balls in behind him and it was one of these balls that saw the cross come in that led to the only goal of the game for Stourport. Ben Maund put the ball away after Sphinx had failed to clear the cross. A disappointing goal to concede in the 57th minute and a goal that seemed to dent the confidence of the young Sphinx team. Luke Hopkins introduced fresh legs in the shape of Jack Downes and Aaron Opoku but it made little difference to the game. Stourport looked happy with a 1-0 win and Sphinx couldn’t find the goal that would get them back in the game. It’s been a long season and the lads were starting to look a tired outfit, particularly after going behind. Plenty of positives though as the back four is looking more settled and assured as a result and the midfield is full of ball players that allow Sphinx good possession. I would say Sphinx are a proven striker away from being a very good side. Some more experience and a bit of midfield bite would be a benefit too. There are a lot of good players already in the squad and with the right additions Sphinx will improve significantly next season.
FULL TIME: STOURPORT SWIFTS 1 COVENTRY SPHINX 0
MAN OF THE MATCH: GIO DAINTY
Jacob Dodds was a threat on the right wing, particularly when he cut inside and his pace was troublesome to the home side. Ryan Quinn in the centre of midfield is fast becoming an important member of the team as his energy and passing ability is contributing greatly to the cause. My Man of the Match today is Gio Dainty. He has been virtually ever present this season and whether he plays left midfield or left back he always gives a solid display for the team. Today was no exception and he was the one showing the most attacking threat from left back as the game entered the latter stages.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: O’NEILL, DAINTY, ROONEY, FLETCHER, TAYLOR, QUINN, DODDS, DOWNIE, CAREY (Opoku 63 mins), PRICE (J.Downes 59 mins), L.DOWNES
Next Coventry Sphinx fixture: Away – Tipton Town – Wednesday 15th April, 7.45pm kick off