Less than a month ago Sphinx suffered a heavy defeat at Coleshill and this game would show us just how much improvement Sphinx have made in recent weeks. Both sides came into the match on the back of six goal wins in their previous games so goals were expected in this clash tonight.
Just one change for Sphinx tonight as the unavailable Jon Haynes was replaced by Joe Taylor at left back and it would certainly have been harsh on any player being left out after the 6-0 demolition of Rocester just two days previously.
Coleshill were the first to threaten with the ever dangerous Benjamin hitting a powerful drive that Malhotra parried away. A rising drive from Barlone was the next strike to test Malhotra who tipped it over the bar. Coleshill had started strongly and in the 7th minute they went ahead after a right wing cross was guided in at the far post by Beckley. Sphinx were showing signs of being a threat to Coleshill themselves but it took a gift from Coleshill keeper Hathaway to get them level in the 16th minute. It was good work from Nesbitt that forced a corner initially and Ryan Quinn delivered it into the six yard box where Hathaway caught it under little pressure but he dropped the ball and ALBRIGHTON couldn’t believe his luck as he guided it into the net from little more than a yard out. A little bit of luck for Sphinx but long overdue. A set piece provided the next opportunity for Sphinx as a free kick was awarded for a foul against Jackson Downie. Koriya sent the free kick into the box and Nesbitt got a good contact on the ball but was disappointed to see his header go just over the bar. The 35th minute brought a moment that could have had a big impact on the match. It all started with Nesbitt beating the offside trap and storming towards goal. The last defender was struggling to keep up with him and fouled him after he entered the box and continued to foul him until Nesbitt hit the deck just as he was about to shoot. It was a clear penalty and a clear Red Card for denying a goal scoring opportunity. The referee gave the penalty but inexplicably only booked the defender. Jackson DOWNIE put away the penalty to put Sphinx into a 2-1 lead but Coleshill could consider themselves extremely fortunate that they still had 10 men. Sphinx had been steadily getting hold of the game, they were playing some good football and will feel they deserved the lead as they went into the break.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 2 COLESHILL TOWN 1
Coleshill had scored 100 league goals so it was clear they were nowhere near beaten at this stage. Sphinx are an entertaining side to watch and they certainly don’t sit on 1 goal leads. Ryan Quinn demonstrated this minutes into the half when he broke forward from centre midfield to hit a good rising shot that Hathaway caught well. Chances were still irregular and Robbie Banks made his first substitution just past the hour. Abdirahman appeared to have been struggling with a knock and he was replaced by a returning Luke Downes. It was good to see Downes back involved and his ability has never been in question. In the 69th minute we had the second key moment that went against Sphinx. Fazel Koriya managed to get two yellow cards in a second as the referee raised the yellow card twice instantly to send him off. I’m still unsure what happened but it was an unbelievable decision and something I’ve never seen before. Koriya had been performing well so that was a blow in itself and the ten men of Sphinx were going to have to do it the hard way. Before Sphinx had a chance to reorganise Coleshill were level. Beckley got his second to make it 2-2 on 70 minutes and Coleshill took the lead on 73 minutes with a goal from substitute Cobourne. A crazy five minutes for Sphinx saw them receive a red card and concede two goals on the back of it. The ten men had an effect on Sphinx and Coleshill were happy to run down the clock in the end which was a compliment to the performance Sphinx had given us. It was certainly a contrast of styles with Sphinx’s passing style up against the direct approach from the opposition. In the end it was a red card that decided the outcome of this match but Sphinx could be satisfied with another decent performance and the players are most certainly playing for their manager. They pushed a top 4 side all the way and were unfortunate not to take something from the game. On this evidence, Sphinx will have a decent end to the season if they continue this form.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 2 COLESHILL TOWN 3
MAN OF THE MATCH: JEAN DAKOURI
Jackson Downie is looking a natural at right back and this could well develop into his position. Sam Delaney and Mark Albrighton are also forming a good partnership in the centre of defence. Keiran Nesbitt looked lively up front and the midfield worked their socks off again. The standout player for me was midfielder Jean Dakouri. He plays a defensive role and is as tough as they come but combines that with good use of the ball and allows the flair players the freedom to express themselves.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: MALHOTRA, DOWNIE (Muldoon 76 mins), TAYLOR (Rooney 76 mins), DAKOURI, DELANEY, ALBRIGHTON, KORIYA, QUINN, NESBITT, RANKIN, ABDIRAHMAN (Downes 62 mins)