The FA Cup was back on the schedule and Coventry Sphinx had a tough draw as they travelled to take on Lye Town who had started the season in good form. The venue for the tie was Bromsgrove Sporting’s ground due to Lye Town being unable to use their ground because of the cricket taking place there.
Sphinx manager Luke Hopkins was able to name an unchanged line up after the win against Quorn and a strong looking bench gave him options for later in the game. Lye were quickest out of the traps and within a minute they had their first chance which went wide of the Sphinx goal. An early warning for Sphinx but it was still Lye having the better of the opening exchanges as they squandered a glorious chance in the 7th minute. Sphinx soon settled down and a good move involving McBride, Piggon and Cain ended with an accurate Cain shot being saved low down by Lye Town keeper Bedford. Sphinx were growing into the game but they were struggling to contain the Lye Town left winger Williams and it was Williams who gave the home side the lead on 20 minutes. A rising shot beat O’Neill at his near post to break the deadlock and Sphinx would need to respond well to get back into the game. Respond they did as Piggon started to set his sights on the goal. His long range effort wasn’t far away but disappeared into the stand behind the goal all where the Gazelle like Phil Rooney collected the ball and returned it to the keeper! It wasn’t long after that Sphinx equalised with a thumping shot from Mitchell PIGGON. The shot from inside the penalty area was unstoppable with the power he generated and Sphinx were deservedly level six minutes from the break. Sphinx very nearly took the lead just before half time after a swift break started by Luke Downes ended with a Cain shot being well saved by Bedford.
HALF TIME: LYE TOWN 1 COVENTRY SPHINX 1
Sphinx now had the ascendency after the equaliser and took that confidence into the second half as a curling Luke Downes effort was kept out by the Lye Town keeper. Just nine minutes into the half and Sphinx went into the lead. Ash JACKSON stooped to get in a close range header from a corner and the ball found it’s way into the net to turn the game around. Sphinx were on top now but before they could confirm their advantage they conceded a sloppy equaliser to let Lye Town back into the game. 2-2 with 62 minutes gone with Williams the scorer again and in all honesty it was a thrilling game to watch. Manager Luke Hopkins responded by substituting his two forwards who were replaced by Jack Jeys and Tom Bates. Almost immediately Bates had an opportunity from a free kick that was saved at the foot of the post by Bedford. Both sides now looked capable of a winner and Lewis McBride was getting stronger as the game went on down the right wing. Lye Town were struggling to contain him and could count themselves lucky not to have been reduced to ten men after one challenge on him. The Lye Town substitute Johnson was less fortunate as his two challenges on McBride earned him two yellow cards and therefore a red card late in the game. Sphinx came on strong in the dying minutes and came so close to winning it. Initially a fierce McBride effort cannoned off the top of the post and the follow up shot from Downes was pushed out for a corner. The resulting corner was met by the towering Jones but his header went just over the bar which was to be the last significant chance of the game. Sphinx will feel they missed an opportunity to win this tie and will hopefully take the positives from this performance into the replay. If they start the game strongly and cut out the odd error then they will have every chance of succeeding.
FULL TIME: LYE TOWN 2 COVENTRY SPHINX 2
MAN OF THE MATCH: Lewis McBride
A number of very encouraging displays today. Ash Jackson was strong at left back and found the net again. Myles Jones was an imposing presence at centre back again. Banks and Blythe were a good midfield partnership and Luke Downes is starting to get into form. Mitchell Piggon is growing in confidence up front but my Man of the Match is Lewis McBride. He is getting better as his fitness improves and Lye Town struggled to cope with his pace, intelligence and tenacity all game.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM:
O’NEILL, TAYLOR, JACKSON, ROONEY, JONES, BANKS, BLYTHE, DOWNES, McBRIDE, PIGGON (Jeys 67 mins), CAIN ((Bates 67 mins)(Bishop 85 mins))
Next Coventry Sphinx fixture:
FA Cup Replay – Home – Lye Town – Monday 17th August, 7.45pm kick off