Coventry Sphinx 0 Highgate Utd 2 -Improving Sphinx go unrewarded

We were back in action at Sphinx Drive at long last on Monday night and our opponents were one of the better sides in the division. Highgate Utd are usually a stern test for any side so a performance was required from Sphinx to give themselves a chance of a result.

Changes to the side included the return of Matt Taylor in defence, Will Grocott was available to step into midfield to replace Luke Downes (dead leg) and Mitch Thomson came back from suspension to Captain the side.

Sphinx passed their first test by starting with a tremendous work ethic and it’s good attitudes like this that will give us a chance of turning around our recent run of results. Ryan Quinn was the first Sphinx player to test the Highgate keeper with a shot but chances were hard to come against a tough Highgate side. Mitch Thomson was looking sharp tonight and he came up with a good run and shot to threaten for Sphinx again. It was a balanced game and Highgate forced a good save out of Hartopp from a set piece. Still no score as we passed the half hour mark but a sharp attack from Sphinx almost broke the deadlock. Quinn and Grocott combined to put Thomson into a great shooting position and his effort was dealt with well by the keeper. This was a better performance from Sphinx and Grocott played a quality ball into the box that Mitch Thomson killed stone dead to lay the ball off to Rankin who saw his shot blocked by a determined Highgate defence. Minutes later Thomson got through on goal and it was only a great save that prevented Sphinx taking the lead. Moments before half time Sphinx were denied a penalty when Mitch Thomson was pushed to the ground. It looked like a clear foul but it was ignored by the ref to see us go into the break all square. Sphinx would have been happy with that but Highgate would have been happy with their own performance too.

HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 HIGHGATE UTD 0

An encouraging effort from Sphinx in the first half but either side looked well capable of winning this game still so plenty of work ahead of them in the second half. Highgate had the better of the opening fifteen minutes of this half but Sphinx were defending with real tenacity and they created a chance for themselves too as Nesbitt flicked a ball onto Thomson who fired just wide of the target. Highgate responded by taking the lead as Sphinx failed to deal with a corner and Cosgrave was the man in the right place to put the visitors 1-0 up. This was a blow for Sphinx and despite their best efforts they couldn’t find a goal to level things up. Jamie Delahunty came off the bench to make his first start for the club since recently joining from Alvis Sporting and he looked good in his fifteen minutes on the pitch. Highgate secured the points in the 79th minute after a defensive error was seized on by Attenborrow who comprehensively finished the chance. 2-0 to Highgate and that was effectively game over in what was a disappointing result although there were was an awful lot to be positive about in that performance. If the lads keep showing that attitude and work ethic they will get their rewards sooner rather than later.

FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 HIGHGATE UTD 2

MAN OF THE MATCH: MITCH THOMSON

Defensively we looked secure tonight and the introduction of the likes of Sam Delaney has certainly made a difference. Trey Brathwaite is a bundle of energy on the left and he caught the eye again. Will Grocott certainly adds something to the Sphinx midfield with his quality on the ball and his work rate helps set a good tempo for the team. Ryan Quinn looked back to the standards I expect from him but my Man of the Match goes to Mitch Thomson. His quality on the ball tonight was excellent, he looked the most likely to score and he also took the responsibility of Captain in his stride.

COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: HARTOPP, ROONEY, TAYLOR, DELANEY (Delahunty 75 mins), BRATHWAITE, BANKS, RANKIN, QUINN, GROCOTT (Dodds 82 mins), NESBITT (Akinuli 82 mins), THOMSON

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