With only a few league games on the schedule today Sphinx had an opportunity to make progress up the league table. Lye Town is a tough place to go but Sphinx had already edged them out in a cup tie last month so they had no reason not to believe they could get a result today. Sphinx suffered an early blow with the unavailability of key players Lewis McBride and Player of the Month Myles Jones. Sphinx still looked more than strong enough so that shouldn’t have been used as an excuse for today’s result.
Sphinx set themselves up in a 4-4-2 formation with Mitch Piggon leading the line and Luke Downes just in behind him. We had the usual central midfield pairing of Banks and Blythe flanked by Bates on the left and Thomson (returning from injury) on the right. The defence had Taylor and Rooney in the middle with two novice full backs (Downie and Dodds) either side of them. The options on the bench were Cain, Jeys, Muldoon and goalkeeper Scott Dutton. Sphinx started brightly and were looking to play their football in the opposition half at the earliest opportunity but it was Lye Town who took the lead with their first real chance in the 10th minute. A long diagonal ball towards the Sphinx left back saw Dodds hesitate with his clearance and Northwood took full advantage to hit a drive across O’Neill that nestled in his bottom corner. Sphinx had started well despite the 1-0 scoreline and they needed to remain patient and believe in what they were trying to do. It wasn’t long before Sphinx were 2-0 down in all too familiar circumstances. A straight forward ball through the middle led to defender Taylor losing his footing which left Nickle clean through to comfortably double the Lye Town lead. 19 minutes gone and despite neither keeper having made a save Lye Town found themselves 2-0 up with two very preventable goals. This had knocked Sphinx and the situation wasn’t helped when striker Mitch Piggon was forced off with a dead leg so Ash Cain was introduced after just 32 minutes. Cain went up front but his different style of play made no difference to the Sphinx attack as they failed to force the Lye Town keeper into any kind of save in the first half. A hugely disappointing half of football after Sphinx had started with so much promise. Far better was required if Sphinx were going to get back into this match in the second half.
HALF TIME: LYE TOWN 2 COVENTRY SPHINX 0
The Sphinx players emerged back onto the field early for the second half and within minutes they got their best chance of the match as Ash Cain burst through but his shot from a tight angle was comfortably saved at the near post by the Lye Town keeper. Sphinx made their second substitution on 50 minutes when the struggling Dodds was replaced by the experienced Muldoon. Dodds had been deployed at left back but his natural position is far further forward so it was no real surprise that he was struggling in defence. Sphinx had now gone to three at the back with Taylor in the middle and he was flanked by Muldoon and Rooney. This allowed Jackson Downie to push forward into his more familiar midfield position and we now appeared to have a front three of Thomson, Cain and Downes. Lye fluffed another good chance as Sphinx had been reorganised in a attempt to get back into the game. It wasn’t working for them and Luke Hopkins made his last roll of the dice with the introduction of striker Jack Jeys for defender Matt Taylor. We now had a back three of Muldoon, Banks and Rooney with Jeys joining Cain and Thomson up front. Again this made no difference to Sphinx’s goal threat which was almost non existent and it was Lye Town who looked far more likely to add to their lead. A Lye Town free kick flashed across the face of goal and somehow managed to evade everyone to go out for a goal kick and was example of the disarray defensively for Sphinx. As the game ebbed away it was clear the result was settled and the only thing up for debate was whether Lye Town would increase their lead. A desperately disappointing day in the Black Country for Sphinx and I’m sure Manager Luke Hopkins will be demanding a reaction from his players on Tuesday night.
FULL TIME: LYE TOWN 2 COVENTRY SPHINX 0
MAN OF THE MATCH: ROBBIE BANKS
Difficult one today with such a below par team performance but I will highlight a few who can hold their heads up high with the effort they put in at least. O’Neill, Downie, Rooney, Banks and Blythe all stood out for me in terms of their application but Banks gets my Man of the Match for his work rate and for the way he slotted back into defence when the manager changed the formation.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: O’NEILL, DOWNIE, DODDS (Muldoon 50 mins), ROONEY, TAYLOR (Jeys 62 mins), BANKS, BLYTHE, THOMSON, BATES, DOWNES, PIGGON (Cain 32 mins)
Next Coventry Sphinx fixture:
League Cup – Away – Atherstone Town – Tuesday 15th September, 7.45pm