Alvechurch were in town at the weekend and with just three league defeats to their name it was obvious a performance was required from Coventry Sphinx for them to have a chance of a result. Once again there were no concerns over the pitch and considering the amount of games played on it we have to give credit to our Groundsman for his work.
Manager Robbie Banks was forced into three changes with Quinn, Downie and Taylor replacing Dakouri, Koriya and Robinson. Sphinx left themselves with a tough task at Sporting Khalsa on Thursday after going behind after two minutes and they repeated the trick today by going behind in the 3rd minute. Jordan Nadat made no mistake with his finish to give Alvechurch the lead and it was a start that Sphinx could have really done without. Credit to Sphinx though as they didn’t let the early goal effect them. Sphinx went on to play their part in a decent contest and they were well in the game midway through the half. The Achilles heel for Sphinx all season has been conceding soft goals but the second Alvechurch goal was a good goal and you have to give credit to the visitors for the quick football that saw the ball played out to the right followed by a rapid cross and an equally emphatic finish from Sam Williams. The second goal came in the 33rd minute and that was the trigger for Alvechurch to get on top and have most of the play for the remainder of the half. However, we still had time for a big decision from the referee just before half time that could have put a different complexion on things going into half time. Sphinx were denied what looked a stonewall penalty when Mitchell Thomson was through on goal and appeared to be brought down by the Alvechurch keeper. The referee gave nothing and Thomson was furious along with the Sphinx management. It looked a clear penalty and by not giving it the referee surely had to book him for diving but he didn’t do that either. If the penalty had been given then surely the keeper would have been dismissed as well so it was a big moment for Sphinx that didn’t go their way.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 ALVECHURCH 2
Alvechurch have the best defensive record in the division so Sphinx appeared to have a mountain to climb in this half. Sphinx started the half playing some decent football but the Alvechurch defence was proving difficult to breech. Some good play from Thomson on the hour saw Sphinx penetrate the Alvechurch defence and he then fired a great ball across the face of goal. Unfortunately for Sphinx no one had gambled and there was no one there for the tap in. That was better from Sphinx and a couple of minutes later they threatened again after Downie set up Quinn for a drive that bobbled wide of the post. Alvechurch held a two goal lead but they still hadn’t done enough to relax but that all changed in the 70th minute. A poor clearance from the Sphinx keeper went straight to Alvechurch and a quick ball was played to release Nadat who tucked away his chance clinically to make it 3-0 and game over. Alvechurch visibly relaxed and there was now too much to do for Sphinx to get a result. Sphinx had responded well to the two goal deficit but they couldn’t find a way back into the game against an Alvechurch side brimming with confidence. The Alvechurch manager clearly wasn’t happy with his teams first half performance despite being in front for virtually all of the match and Sphinx must take some credit for that but Alvechurch were well worth the win in the end. Sphinx will look at it thinking that things could have been different if they hadn’t have been so slow out of the blocks and the penalty had been given just before half time but that would paper over the fact that the Alvechurch keeper had a fairly quiet day in all honesty.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 ALVECHURCH 3
MAN OF THE MATCH: MITCHELL THOMSON
Zuhayb Abdirahman continues to impress me with his raw talent and he’s certainly not afraid of hard work. Ryan Quinn had a good game on his return to the side and Robbie Banks again worked his socks off in midfield but my Man of the Match is Mitchell Thomson. Thommo was the biggest threat to Alvechurch with his pace and worked hard for his team today.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM:
MALHOTRA, ROSSER, HAYNES, BANKS, ROONEY, DELANEY, ABDIRAHMAN, QUINN, DOWNIE, THOMSON (Akinuli 75 mins), TAYLOR (Muldoon 60 mins)