After their late dramatic victory at Quorn on Saturday it was important that Sphinx built on that on Monday night with another result at Sphinx Drive. Brocton have already beaten Sphinx twice this season including putting them out of the FA Vase at Sphinx Drive so we knew this wasn’t going to be easy tonight.
Manager Robbie Banks made four changes to his side from the previous match at Quorn and three of those were enforced. Brook replaced Hartopp in goal who has been struggling with a thigh injury, Muldoon returned to the side, Bilic replaced Nesbitt and the unfortunate Jack Rooney was left out for the available again Fletcher. Sphinx looked a little light up front without a genuine front man but Rankin and Thomson bring plenty of other skills to the forward roles.
Once again a mention for the Groundsman Paul who has done well in testing conditions to get the game on tonight at a dry but cold Sphinx Drive. Sphinx had a early chance with a Mitch Thomson shot tipped past the post and on 13 minutes Trey Brathwaite drove forward from left back to produce a fearsome drive that was tipped over the bar by the Brocton keeper. Sphinx had started well with a good intensity to their play but the chances dried up as Brocton established themselves in the game. It was a balanced contest but Sphinx beat the offside trap on a number of occasions only to find an alert keeper ready to come out and clear the danger. Brocton were exposing Sphinx vulnerabilities on their forward forays so it was difficult to foresee who would take the lead in this match. At the break the deadlock hadn’t been broken but it was a satisfactory scoreline and performance so far for Sphinx.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 BROCTON 0
We were only five minutes into the half when Brocton took the lead after Edwards made Sphinx pay for an error at the back by rounding the keeper and firing home. It was disappointing to see Sphinx concede in that manner after the work that had gone in to keep a clean sheet but even the best sides in the world concede goals so it was how they reacted that mattered now. They responded by going close from a corner a couple of minutes later with Albrighton heading just over after Brocton failed to pick him up. A great chance for Sphinx and the next chance was courtesy of full back Brathwaite who again fired in a powerful drive which forced the keeper to tip over the bar for a corner. Sphinx needed an equaliser but Brocton demonstrated how to be clinical in front of goal when they caught Sphinx on the break to allow substitute Fife to finish in the 67th minute. The second goal appeared to knock the life out of Sphinx but a free kick opportunity for them saw Albrighton thump the post soon after. Brocton looked relatively comfortable on their 2-0 lead and they sealed the win with a McMahon effort on 89 minutes. It was a straightforward win for the visitors in the end and the manner of defeat was a surprise with Sphinx showing an upturn in performance in recent games. Sphinx missed the presence of Nesbitt up front tonight and hopefully he’ll be back in action soon. If Sphinx have aspirations of staying in this division they will need to do better than they did tonight that’s for sure.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 BROCTON 3
MAN OF THE MATCH: TREY BRATHWAITE
Steve Brook stepped into goal for Sphinx and despite playing only his second game for the club he played like a man who had been at the club a lot longer. His effort and commitment were not in doubt in my view. Adam Bilic was looking sharp in the centre of midfield and is proving a wise move to bring him back in. Delaney wears his heart on his sleeve and despite his youth he has leadership qualities in him that I like. Albrighton again looked the class act of the Sphinx defence and came closest to scoring alongside fellow defender Trey Brathwaite who is my Man of the Match. Brathwaite looked a real threat coming forward from left back and his energy and desire should be held up as an example to everyone.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: BROOK, MULDOON (Rosser 78mins), BRATHWAITE, ALBRIGHTON, DELANEY, FLETCHER, BILIC (Dodds 78 mins), QUINN, RANKIN, DOWNES, RANKIN