Two consecutive away draws alongside decent performances brought Sphinx into this game with the hope of converting performances into three points. Brocton had other ideas and deservedly took the points and would have won by more if it wasn’t for the heroics of Scott Dutton in the Sphinx goal. The game ended in a flurry of Red Cards as Sphinx compounded their poor performance with a loss of discipline at the end.
Sphinx arrived in Brocton with only Jamie Towers absent from the squad that had travelled to Westfields but there were two additions to the bench with the returning Rhys Deehan and new signing Yannick Gomez. Liam Cairns came into the centre of midfield with Blackmore moving out to the right to fill in for Towers.
It was a mild, dry but blustery night in Stafford and the pitch looked in great nick. Sphinx emerged from the changing rooms looking up for the match but they never really got going in this contest. Sphinx did manage an early chance with Wint getting away down the left but his effort failed to trouble the keeper. Brocton soon drew the first of many saves from Dutton and they had started the better of the two sides. On twenty minutes Sphinx had a Woodward goal ruled out for offside and that would end up being the closest they got to getting on the score sheet this evening. Brocton cranked up the pressure and Dutton had to come out quickly to keep them out. The loose ball was fired at goal but Lavery made a last ditch sliding block to keep the ball out of the net. Minutes later Dutton sharply saved another effort and this time Eggleton completed the clearance. Eggleton then took a break from defending to carry the ball deep into the Brocton half before passing on the ball to Lower who dribbled into the box but any chance on goal was snuffed out by a determined Brocton defence. Sphinx then had a half hearted shout for a penalty after Harkin went down in the box. After that brief respite for Dutton he was flying across goal to keep out Brocton again and Sphinx were fortunate the loose ball was blazed over the bar from close range. Sphinx then had a half chance with McCalla doing well to get his head to a Downes free kick and that was soon followed by a penetrating Downes run that was eventually smothered by Brocton. Brocton still had time to shoot over the bar before the break. The only thing that was letting Brocton down was their finishing but an inspired Dutton was dealing with anything on target which left us with no score at the break.
HALF TIME: BROCTON 0 COVENTRY SPHINX 0
Sphinx would need to improve in the second half but any attacking threat they had was fading as Brocton grew in self belief. Stuart Dutton soon made a double substitution with Deehan replacing McCalla at left back and striker Nathan McGarrity entering the field of play. We were an hour into the game and it was becoming a real battle out there. A mistake at the back for Sphinx let in Brocton but that man Dutton saved with legs to bail out his side again. Dutton then gave us some acrobatics to admire with a superb tip over after Brocton engineered a free header from a corner. In the end it was a slice of bad luck that saw Dutton concede the goal that ultimately won the game for Brocton. Dutton made the correct decision to come out for a free kick delivered into his box but the strength of the wind contributed to the apparent misjudgement that saw the ball nestle in the top corner. Brocton deserved the goal but Dutton certainly didn’t deserve to concede in that manner. The 72nd minute goal triggered the final Sphinx change with Gomez coming on for his debut in the Sphinx midfield. The hosts continued looking for a second goal to put the game to bed and Dutton once again stood in their way. In the 87th minute Sphinx briefly threatened with a solo effort from Deehan but Brocton had done more than enough to be worthy winners. It was a poor night for Sphinx and the game ended with 2 straight Red Cards for Sphinx to compound the misery. Lavery and Woodward both got their marching orders along with a Brocton player who went for a second yellow. The players also treated us to two bouts of mass handbags to complete the night. Credit must go to Brocton who tonight demonstrated they are well up for the fight to stay in the MFL Premier Division and on that showing they will provide tough opposition for anyone who meets them. Sphinx meanwhile need to lick their wounds and get on with preparing for a trip to Sporting Khalsa at the weekend who will provide them with a stern test. One things for sure, they’ll need to perform better than that to get anything from Sporting Khalsa.
FULL TIME: BROCTON 1 COVENTRY SPHINX 0
COVENTRY SPHINX MAN OF THE MATCH: SCOTT DUTTON
Multiple saves and some of them were superb efforts. Kept Sphinx in the game and didn’t deserve to finish on the losing side.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: DUTTON, LOWER, McCALLA (Deehan 53 mins), DOWNES, LAVERY, EGGLETON, BLACKMORE (McGarrity 53 mins), WOODWARD, HARKIN (Gomez 73 mins), CAIRNS, WINT