Sphinx came into this match on the back of a good point at Quorn who during the week went top of the MFL Premier Division which demonstrates what a good point that was. Tividale found themselves at the wrong end of the table after their first couple of games but the last time they were in this division they were promoted as Champions. There is never an easy game in this highly competitive division and despite Tividale’s slow start to the season a tough match was expected.
Manager Stuart made one enforced change with Dayle Kenny starting up front in place of the suspended Mitch Thomson but other than that he selected an unchanged line up. Once again the bench looked strong with the likes of Rickie Cutting waiting for their chance. Sphinx came flying out of the blocks again and they were a goal up inside 3 minutes after a corner led to Danny Harris whipping in a ball to the far post where centre back Daz EGGLETON headed home from close range. A superb start for Sphinx but Tividale worked hard to ensure they couldn’t find an opportunity to increase their early lead. Twenty minutes into the game and both defences were having the better of things with neither keeper being overworked since the early opening goal. Suddenly Sphinx had a chance and it fell to Daniel Douse who had used his pace to burst through on goal. He elected to shoot early but the keeper was alert to this and pushed his shot past the post. Minutes later and it was the pace of Douse that was causing Tividale problems again as he breeched the defence down the right but the keeper forced him well wide before his shot from an impossibly tight angle drifted wide of the far post. Tividale’s best effort came ten minutes before half time with Scott Dutton doing well to push an effort over the bar. Chances for both sides were in short supply but you’ve got to give credit to the defensive performances of both sides for that. Sphinx were the leaders at the break though as their third minute goal remained the difference between the sides.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 1 TIVIDALE 0
Tividale had been getting better as the game had gone on and that continued in the second half as they began to pose more of a threat on the Sphinx goal. Tividale continued to snuff out any threat from the Sphinx attacks. Stuart Dutton had made a double change with Kenny and Barnett being replaced by Rickie Cutting and Chris Johnston at half time. The introduction of Johnston gave Sphinx more of an aerial presence in forward areas but again Tividale were equal to anything that Sphinx were throwing at them. Tividale looked well in the game and that was confirmed in the 68th minute with a well deserved equaliser as they headed in to level it up at 1-1. Tividale clearly felt they could go on and win the game now and rightly so but Sphinx, who were nowhere near their best, dug in and came away with a point against a Tividale side who surely won’t be waiting long to climb up the table. Tividale have a decent side that are solid in defence and provide a threat in attack with pace a key attribute. After that performance I expect Tividale to be at the right end of the table sooner rather than later and Sphinx can be satisfied they took a point from a game they were below par in. You can’t be at your best in every game but the character they showed earned them a point in a tough match.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 1 TIVIDALE 1
MAN OF THE MATCH: Darren Eggleton
It was a night for defenders and the Sphinx defence once again stood up to be counted against a lively Tividale side. They did well to severely limit efforts on target and the centre back pairing of Eggleton and McCalla again performed well. Reece Blackmore was worked very hard at left back but he responded well to the attacking threat posed. Scott Lower again played with real energy at right back and he certainly leaves you in doubt you’ve been tackled by him. Difficult to single any one of them out but Eggleton also got the Sphinx goal so he edges my Man of the Match.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: DUTTON, LOWER, BLACKMORE, CAIRNS, McCALLA, EGGLETON, BARNETT (Johnston 46 mins, WEBB (Smith 74 mins), KENNY (Cutting 46 mins), HARRIS, DOUSE. Unused Subs: Harkin, Nash