On a day when the majority of games were called off in the region due to the excessive rain, it was great credit to our Groundsman that this game went ahead at Sphinx Drive. This was the first home game for new manager Robbie Banks and he made three changes to the side that had suffered injury time defeat at Loughborough University. In came Neil Collett between the sticks, defender Matt Taylor returned to the side and loan signing Francino Francis took up a centre back position after joining us from Chasetown. The rain had eased an hour or two prior to kick off to leave the playing surface sodden but playable. The strength of the wind was now making an impact on the playing conditions but not enough to put the game in danger.
The wind was certainly a contributing factor in the early stages as a number of Sphinx corners and crosses caused havoc in the Lye Town box thanks to the wind carrying the ball towards the goal. Sphinx couldn’t capitalise and Lye responded with a good chance of their own which Collett did really well to deal with in the Sphinx goal. Chances were strictly limited in this contest with Sphinx defending well and going forward they were struggling to support lone striker Blenkinsopp quickly enough. Muldoon, playing on the right of midfield, came within inches of opening the scoring when he seized on a weak clearance from the visitors keeper Pond to send a first time effort just wide of the post with the keeper stranded. Just before half time Mitch Thomson played Blenkinsopp in and his effort went past the far post. Those chances were the closest Sphinx had got to scoring and an even, well contested match went into half time goal less.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 LYE TOWN 0
A change at half time for Sphinx as the injured Downie departed for Rankin. It was a welcome return for Rankin after two months out with an injury. First chance of the half went to Lye Town as a wind assisted effort from long range was pushed over the bar by Collett. Sphinx were being made to work hard for their opportunities and a combination of Muldoon, Francis and Thomson released Blenkinsopp who saw his shot rebound off the post and then the alert Thomson pounced to get in an effort that was superbly saved by Pond. Sphinx had their tails up now and some lovely football released Muldoon to fire in a first time cross that Blenkinsopp was inches away from stretching a leg out to. Lye Town were well in the game though and they took the lead in the 64th minute from a set piece. A right wing free kick was delivered to the far post and a towering leap from Dallison allowed him to head home with conviction. The goal was a set back for Sphinx and before they had a chance to regroup they were 2-0 down. Northwood found himself in all sorts of space to the right of the Sphinx penalty box and took full advantage to rifle in a peach of a shot to double the visitors lead. Two goals in five minutes had put Lye Town in pole position for the points and Sphinx manager Robbie Banks responded immediately with the introduction of Jacob Dodds on the right of midfield for Muldoon. This was swiftly followed by forward Akinuli replacing the injured midfielder Quinn. Sphinx’s shape changed as a result and their were occasions when they had four up front as they pressed for a way back into the game. The closest they got was a powerful run from Akinuli feeding Blenkinsopp into the area only for his shot to go just wide of the near post. It wasn’t to be for Sphinx today but they could take heart from the creation of some decent chances and overall defended with determination and spirit.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 LYE TOWN 2
MAN OF THE MATCH: LUKE DOWNES
A solid performance in the Sphinx goal from Neil Collett who certainly gave us a reassuring presence. Ryan Quinn once again worked his socks off in midfield both defensively and offensively. Muldoon performed well in his right midfield position, came close to scoring and played some good balls into the box. Jackson Downie looked lively before injury ended his involvement at half time. Mitch Thomson looked a threat with his skill and change of pace. Today, Downes is my Man of the Match. Luke Downes, in his deep midfield role, was the key to making things tick in the Sphinx midfield. He was always demanding the ball and worked hard for the cause.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: COLLETT, TAYLOR, SOCKETT, DOWNES, ROONEY, FRANCIS, MULDOON (Dodds 71 mins), DOWNIE (Rankin 46 mins), BLENKINSOPP, QUINN (Akinuli 76 mins), THOMSON
Next Coventry Sphinx fixture:
HOME – MONDAY 14TH DECEMBER, 7.45PM – ALVECHURCH – LEAGUE CUP