Another good test for Coventry Sphinx today as National League North club Worcester City sent a side to Sphinx Drive. Worcester City play three levels above Coventry Sphinx so even though Worcester sent a young squad it was sure to be a tough game. In fact, in last years pre season campaign Worcester sent a young squad and came away from Coventry with a 2-1 victory so this game will be a good gauge on the improvements to the Coventry Sphinx squad during the summer.
The team selection is now starting to take a familiar look with just two changes from the previous match against Chasetown. Scott Dutton started in goal to cover for the unavailable Carl O’Neill and Lewis McBride was replaced by Youth team graduate Jacob Dodds. A more orthodox 4-4-2 formation was deployed today with Dodds partnering Mitch Piggon up front. Jackson Downie once again started at right back and the midfield four was full of experience of a higher level of football.
A decent crowd gathered for the morning kick off with a number of ground hoppers in attendance. The pitch looked good and the weather was fair as we kicked off. The Worcester side were young, full of energy and technically good so Sphinx were going to be forced to work hard to get a result today I felt. The early exchanges were mainly in the midfield areas as both sides competed well and looked to play football on a pitch very much suited to a passing style of play. Chances were limited initially and it was Worcester who had the first chance of note when their young striker did well to turn and get away a cracker of a shot that Dutton did brilliantly to tip onto the cross bar and away for a corner. Minutes later Sphinx worked their first significant chance and ruthlessly put themselves in the lead from it. The chance was created by the never say die attitude of Jacob Dodds as his desire to win back the ball saw Sphinx gain possession high up the pitch. He immediately fed Mitchell THOMSON who cut inside with a nice drop of the shoulder, entered the penalty area and finished well past the exposed keeper. 1-0 to Coventry Sphinx in the 23rd minute with their first clear opportunity of the match. Dodds was at the heart of the next chance as his excellent shot from long range forced the visiting keeper into a good save to keep him out. Sphinx were flying now and more good play down the right between Downie and Thomson set up Piggon whose effort went just wide of the post. Sphinx made their first substitution as Robbie Banks was withdrawn to be replaced by youth team defender Callum “The Terrier” Drake. Jackson Downie shifted to a more familiar midfield position and Drake slotted in at right back. Sphinx were on top now and Richard Blythe did very well to wriggle free from the defender on the right of the box and delivered a fine cross to the far post that was met by a determined Tom Bates but he was unable to get his header on target due to the close attention of a defender. The next chance was for Downie as his good strike whistled just wide of the upright after some good build up play through the midfield. Worcester were looking most likely to score on the counter attack and they looked certain to score until a magnificent recovery tackle from Callum Drake put an end to that attack. This was swiftly followed by another break but Dutton responded well to save with his legs in a one on one situation. Worcester were not out of this match but Sphinx put some daylight between the sides just before the interval thanks to the Dodds/Thomson combination again. The pace of Dodds saw him latch onto a ball out wide on the right and his cross was touched back to THOMSON who hit a peach of a drive into the back of the net to make it 2-0 on the stroke of half time.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 2 WORCESTER CITY 0
Within seconds of the kick off Sphinx had carved their way through the Worcester midfield, Blythe slid a lovely ball through to Bates and his accurate shot was prevented from going into the bottom corner by the alert Worcester keeper. Worcester were still recovering from that when Mitchell THOMSON secured his hat-trick in the 46th minute as he arrowed a cool finish past the keeper. A fine hat-trick indeed for the new midfielder and he has certainly started his Sphinx career with a bang. it wasn’t long before the substitutions started and a substitution of note was the return of Kyle Jaynes. It was good to see Kyle back in the fold after a successful season for our youth team last season and it was good to see his Dad Pete Jaynes off the pitch too! Worcester were still being restricted to counter attacks and long wide balls in an attempt to utilise their pace out wide. Sphinx defended well and were still looking for more goals themselves. On the hour Sphinx made it 4-0 with two youth team players (Drake and Jaynes) combining to set up Mitch PIGGON who thumped in a well deserved goal. Piggon was still hungry for more goals and he came close in the 73rd minute when his fierce shot was well saved by the legs of the keeper.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 4 WORCESTER CITY 0
A comfortable looking win for Sphinx but the young Worcester side made them work hard for victory. More importantly the performance was good again and the squad is looking stronger by the week. Blythe was excellent once more in the centre of midfield and Thomson finished with the class of a seasoned striker. The youngsters performed well and Jacob Dodds in particular was a credit to himself. His work rate up front directly led to two of the Sphinx goals and he even had a spell at left back during the game. Dodds is a graduate of the youth team and he has chosen to stay at Coventry Sphinx and work at establishing himself in the first team. If he keeps performing like that he will get plenty of time on the pitch this coming season that’s for sure.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: DUTTON, DOWNIE, ROONEY, TAYLOR, JACKSON, BLYTHE, BANKS, THOMSON, BATES, PIGGON, DODDS
Next Coventry Sphinx fixture:
HOME – BARWELL – Friday 24th July, 7.30pm kick off