Sphinx have been unable to find a win in recent weeks despite some decent performances and it doesn’t get much tougher than playing a Heanor Town side who were looking to go top of the MFL Premier Division with three points tonight. Manager Luke Hopkins made just the one change as he opted for experience at right back with Tom Muldoon coming in for Jack Rooney.
A three figure crowd watched Sphinx come flying out of the traps and they put the Heanor Town goal under severe pressure in the opening ten minutes. Heanor did well to keep Sphinx out and responded with a break away as Benger rifled a shot across Dutton to put them 1-0 up in the 10th minute. A disappointing goal to concede for Sphinx after they had started so well. The goal settled the game down into a fairly even match with both sides contributing well to the entertainment at Sphinx Drive. Sphinx then suffered the loss of a key player as Lewis Rankin was hacked down as he went on one of his runs. Rankin was to play no further part in the game due to the injury sustained in the foul he suffered. Jackson Downie replaced him on the left of midfield as Sphinx looked for the equaliser against a physical Heanor Town side. With half an hour gone the chances were few and far between after the early Sphinx flurry at the visitors goal. Wilson went close for Sphinx with a good touch and turn before he hit a looping shot just wide of the target. Heanor then went on to double their lead in the 38th minute after a deep cross was headed in at the far post by Cooper. The scoreline certainly wasn’t a reflection of the game but Heanor had been more clinical with their chances so far. A two goal deficit was recoverable but Heanor added a third just before the break. Dutton’s punch clear wasn’t sufficient and Naylor nodded it back over him to put the visitors 3-0 up at half time. An unbelievable score considering the football we had just watched.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 HEANOR TOWN 3
Another enforced substitution at half time saw Jack Rooney replace the injured Muldoon at right back. Sphinx were straight on the front foot again and a Blythe effort was comfortably cleared off the line in the first minute. Sphinx clearly hadn’t given up on this game yet and in the 50th minute they were given a penalty after Downie was fouled in the box. Blythe’s spot kick was emphatically dispatched and thoughts of a comeback were in our minds. Sphinx were responding well to the half time score and in the 62nd minute they got a second goal back. A ball into the box was half cleared and Blythe pounced to drill a first time shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner. Sphinx were back in this game now and they had half an hour to find an equaliser. More danger for Heanor as a Sphinx free kick caused chaos in their box and eventually their keeper held on to a Sphinx shot to ease the pressure. Set pieces were proving a good source of chances for Sphinx and a corner caused further problems to Heanor before the keeper again snuffed out the pressure. 76 minutes were gone now and Heanor suddenly got a chance and it was the post that kept Sphinx in the game. A minute later they had no such luck as a Claridge ball from the left flew over Dutton and dipped in at the far post. That goal saw the end of the Sphinx second half resurgence but they had certainly given Heanor a real scare in what should have been a comfortable half for them after going into the break three goals up. Sphinx refused to lie down and they certainly matched their opponents in general play. I’m still absolutely positive that this team is very close to being a very good team indeed. I have full confidence in Luke Hopkins to address the areas of the team that are required to achieve this.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 2 HEANOR TOWN 4
MAN OF THE MATCH: RICH BLYTHE
Some decent performances in the Sphinx team tonight but the stand out players for me were the centre midfield pair of Rich Blythe and Luke Downes. Their work rate was excellent and their ability on the ball is there for all to see. There was nothing to choose between the two but Blythe just edges it due to the two goals he got.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM:
DUTTON, MULDOON (Rooney 46 mins), BATES, BARNETT, TAYLOR, DOWNES, McBRIDE, BLYTHE, WILSON, RANKIN (Downie 22 mins, (Dodds 81 mins)), PIGGON
Next Coventry Sphinx fixture:
HOME – SHEPSHED DYNAMO – Saturday 24th October, 3pm kick off