Sphinx had an away trip to Sutton Coldfield on Tuesday evening and an encouraging performance wasn’t converted into points as they suffered a narrow defeat. They certainly had their chances to get more from the game so lots to be positive about still.
Manager Robbie Banks made four changes to the team that had beaten Continental Star at the weekend. The plan was for three changes but transport problems meant Mitch Thomson had to take a place on the bench as Jacob Dodds got himself a start up front. Jamie Delahunty made his Sphinx debut on the right to replace the unavailable Jon Haynes, Nesbitt replaced the injured Rankin up front and Jackson Downie returned to the side as Robbie Banks dropped back into defence to cover for the injured Sam Delaney.
We got underway on a cold but dry and calm evening and it didn’t take long for Sphinx to threaten the hosts goal as a tremendous low cross from Brathwaite was put just over by a stretching Dodds. Moments later it was Boldmere’s turn to threaten and Hartopp was equal to it with a decent save. Brathwaite was proving to be a threat for Sphinx on the left and a long diagonal pass picked him out to enable him to run at the full back and get away a good shot that the keeper had to save. Sphinx’s next attack came down the right with Nesbitt powering towards the by-line to deliver a low cross that Dodds again couldn’t capitalise on. A really promising start from Sphinx but Boldmere shook them with an attack of their own that put the home side into the lead. Jack Hartopp saved the first two efforts but had no chance with the third strike from Holmes that made it 1-0 to Boldmere on 22 minutes. Sphinx did not deserve that at all but that’s what can happen when you don’t take your chances. Sphinx responded with Jackson Downie driving through the midfield to feed Nesbitt who produced a fierce drive that whistled just wide of the post. Boldmere then forced another good save from Hartopp as the game was developing into a really good contest. We were minutes from half time when Boldmere caught out Sphinx with a long ball and credit to Morris who did brilliantly to get into a shooting position and fire across the keeper into the bottom corner. It was hard to believe Sphinx were 2-0 down but they were and needed to respond in the second half.
HALF TIME: BOLDMERE ST MICHAELS 2 COVENTRY SPHINX 0
It was Boldmere who started the half stronger and successive corners were put over the bar by Hartopp with the third one of the sequence cleared by the Sphinx defence. A double substitution was soon on the agenda for Sphinx as Jack Rooney replaced Delahunty on the right of defence and Mitch Thomson was introduced in place of Jacob Dodds. Just three minutes after his introduction Thomson was felled in the penalty area to give Sphinx the opportunity of pulling a goal back from the penalty spot. Young midfielder Jackson DOWNIE claimed the ball and made no mistake as he dispatched it into the top corner to get Sphinx back into the game in the 56th minute. Sphinx were looking better in this half but Boldmere were defending their lead well. With 15 minutes to go Thomson hit a snap shot on the turn that went just over the bar and a minute later Nesbitt was put through on goal after a superb ball out of defence by Albrighton had sent him away. Nesbitt hesitated with his shot and that was enough for the keeper to set himself and save his effort. Sphinx were knocking on the door but couldn’t find a way through. The 90th minute saw Sphinx get one of their best chances of the match as Rooney found space in the penalty area from a corner but his firm header was well saved and that was enough for Boldmere to take the points. Sphinx deserved more from the game and will rue the missed chances tonight. Performances are improving and getting more consistent so plenty to be positive about.
FULL TIME: BOLDMERE ST MICHAELS 2 COVENTRY SPHINX 1
MAN OF THE MATCH: TREY BRATHWAITE
A few performances worthy of a mention tonight. Jack Hartopp had his best game since joining Sphinx from Shepshed Dynamo and is clearly growing in confidence. Mark Albrighton was excellent at centre back, showed good leadership and produced some fine balls to set Sphinx on the attack. Jackson Downie made a welcome return to the side and it is now up to him to nail down a place in the side and he certainly has the ability to do so. Nesbitt again worked hard up front, provided a threat and got into shooting positions. Mitch Thomson had an impact when he came on and things could have been different if he had started the game. My Man of the Match is Trey Brathwaite. He has impressed me since he joined us from Solihull Moors and has qualities such as pace, determination and a will to win. He was a constant threat on the left and I expect him to make himself a good career in the game.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: HARTOPP, DELAHUNTY (Rooney 53 mins), BRATHWAITE, BANKS, ALBRIGHTON, FLETCHER, DOWNIE, QUINN, NESBITT, DOWNES, DODDS (Thomson 53 mins)