The last game of the season for Coventry Sphinx and a trip to near neighbours and Midland Football League Premier Division runners up Coleshill Town. A hat full of senior players were unavailable today so a tough task just got even tougher. The goalkeeper and defence was full of inexperience and 3 of the midfielders were Youth team players. The line up that manager Luke Hopkins had to go into the game with was the most inexperienced he has had to field this season.
We got underway with Coleshill having goal machine Shane Benjamin up front alongside former Sphinx striker Rickie Cutting. These two are proven at this level and I feared the worst against the makeshift Sphinx defence. Just 9 minutes into the game and Benjamin got his first of the match and we looked like we were in for a long afternoon. Minutes later Sphinx keeper Murphy was forced to save a powerful strike as Coleshill started well. Sphinx got their first chance as Brad Hardwick forced the keeper to keep out his effort but almost immediately Coleshill went down the other end and Cutting missed a glorious chance to double the lead. Coleshill looked the most threatening but Sphinx were still well in the game but on the 25th minute the home side made it 2-0 with Benjamin left unmarked to head in from close range. in the 28th minute Benjamin claimed his hat-trick after finishing a through ball well. Heads were starting drop in the young Sphinx team now but Rooney got forward to shoot wide and some good play from Luke Downes set up youngster Hardwick for an attempt on goal. in the 40th minute Coleshill added a forth as Benjamin again found the back of the net with a simple tap in. That was game over and we hadn’t reached half time. Damage limitation had to be the priority now as Coleshill were cruising.
HALF TIME: COLESHILL TOWN 4 COVENTRY SPHINX 0
With the way the first half went it was clear that the only question remaining was how many would Coleshill get and it didn’t take long for the fifth to be added as Benjamin tucked in a penalty in the 51st minute. Benjamin added further goals in the 58th and 63rd minute to take his tally to 7 goals in just over an hour of football. An incredible feat by Benjamin but rarely will he have seen such poor defending. Manager Luke Hopkins took his goalkeeper out of the firing line and replaced him with the Sphinx under 16’s keeper Callum Brown. The young lad did well in goal as Coleshill eased off with the job well and truly done and Sphinx grabbed themselves a couple of late consolation goals with a tidy finish from top scorer Luke Downes and a thunderous strike from Aaron Opoku to make the score 7-2. Coleshill still had time to add another as substitute Wright got in on the act to make the final score 8-2. Benjamin demonstrated the difference an experienced and proven striker can make but Sphinx were a well beaten side today. Sphinx have had a young side out all season and as the season has drawn to an end it was clear they were tiring. The experience will hopefully do them good and with the addition of some proven and experienced players I’m confident they will have what it takes to push the club forward.
FULL TIME: COLESHILL TOWN 8 COVENTRY SPHINX 2
MAN OF THE MATCH: ASHLEY JACKSON
A poor performance all round today but one player worth a mention is club captain Ashley Jackson. He was nowhere near fit to play with a knee injury causing him serious problems but despite medical advice he came off the bench and gave us a half an hour demonstration of his experience. Jackson gives his all for the club, is a worthy captain and Luke Hopkins will be hoping he returns to full fitness during the summer.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: MURPHY (Brown 64 mins), DRAKE, OPOKU, DAINTY, PRICHARD, ROONEY, J.DOWNES, DODDS (Jackson 55 mins), PRICE, HARDWICK, L.DOWNES