Coventry Sphinx came into this game on the back of two consecutive league defeats punctuated by a 4-1 win at Atherstone in the League Cup. Which Sphinx would turn up today was the question. Loughborough had started the season poorly but they have improved rapidly with wins against Coleshill and Shepshed Dynamo recently. It’s always a tough test against the students and they always bring fitness, sharpness and an attractive style of football with them.
It was a subdued start to the match with a lengthy stoppage required within minutes of the game getting underway which resulted in Loughborough having to bring on their substitute goalkeeper. A potential opportunity for Sphinx to test the replacement keeper but in all honesty they rarely got close enough to him to test him in what was an incredibly disappointing half of football from the home side. The University side were sharper with everything they did and when in possession Sphinx were chasing shadows a lot of the time as the students moved the ball around them. Loughborough were also a threat on the counter attack when Sphinx did make inroads into their half and the opening goal was a perfect example of that. Sphinx had a free kick in the Loughborough half with an opportunity to deliver the ball into the box. The free kick was cleared and within seconds a blistering counter attack saw the ball nestling in the back of Scott Dutton’s net thanks to a good finish from Herbert. Sphinx were 1-0 down after 16 minutes and on 29 minutes they were 2-0 down after Herbert again struck. Loughborough were clearly the better side and the home side could have no complaints. The course of the game continued with Loughborough making excellent use of the counter attack and looking well organised at the back. Sphinx needed half time to regroup and thankfully it came for them with just the two goal deficit.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY 2
Sphinx had a mountain to climb based on the first half but they had not given up on this game just yet. They started to go more direct with their play and the tactic was working to a degree as they looked to play more of their football in the opposition half. They were still struggling to breech the excellent Loughborough defence and to contain their rapid counter attacks too. However, Sphinx got a lifeline in the 56th minute when they got themselves a goal back. A Tom Bates set piece wasn’t cleared and Lewis McBRIDE fired in the loose ball to give Sphinx hope. It turned out to be false hope as the only criticism you could aim at the students was the wastefulness of their finishing. They had numerous chances to extend their lead whereas Sphinx were struggling to craft any clear cut chances at all. Loughborough looked the most likely to score again but while there was only one goal in it Sphinx had something to fight for. Sphinx were inches away from claiming an unlikely point in the 90th minute when a Tom Bates free kick cannoned back off the post with the keeper beaten. That was to be the closest they got as the visitors claimed a well deserved victory. A poor performance from Sphinx and they will be hoping not to have a repeat of that the next time they play.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 1 LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY 2
MAN OF THE MATCH: SCOTT DUTTON
Scott Dutton was a busy man tonight and he produced some good saves to keep Sphinx in the game.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: DUTTON, MULDOON, BATES, JONES, BARNETT, DOWNIE (Rooney 71 mins), McBRIDE, BLYTHE, RANKIN, WILSON (Piggon 73 mins), DOWNES
Next Coventry Sphinx fixture:
Away – Alvechurch – Tuesday 29th September, 7.45pm kick off