A mild spring evening at Sphinx Drive with 4th placed Lye Town visiting Coventry for this MFL Premier Division match. Sphinx came into the game on the back of a creditable performance at league leaders Alvechurch and Lye Town arrived on a poor run of form despite being high up the table. Earlier in the season Sphinx had suffered a heavy defeat at Lye Town but tonight they took a well deserved point thanks to a thumping strike from midfielder Liam Cairns.
Stuart Dutton was forced into two changes tonight with the unavailable Jamie Towers and injured Pierce Kiembi replaced by Darren Eggleton and Callum Woodward who were both returning from suspensions. Neither side had much to play for in terms of league positions with both sides sitting comfortably in the top half of the table. That showed in the early part of the game and the first meaningful action was the withdrawal of the injured Scott Lower. The Sphinx gaffer took that as an opportunity to blood 16 year old striker Gerald Zefi in the 18th minute. The match then burst into life around the half hour with two goals in a minute. Sphinx got the first goal to take the lead with Liam Cairns getting his second goal for the club in some style. Cairns burst through the defence down the left side of the penalty box and while everyone anticipated a low finish across the keeper he fooled everyone (keeper included!) by drilling a left foot strike into the top corner. A great strike from an unlikely source and that opening goal gave Sphinx something to work with. They never had the chance however with Lye Town winning a corner shortly after kick off and they then bundled in a scruffy goal from the right sided delivery to equalise. Sphinx never had the chance to work on extending their lead and we were all square again. The 16 year old debutant, Gerald Zefi, got himself an opportunity with a smart turn inside the defender but his curling effort towards the top corner was too high to trouble the keeper. Promising stuff from the young man though and it was great to see him getting his opportunity tonight. The only disappointment of the night came late on in the game with Ryan Harkin receiving a straight Red card for his challenge on a Lye Town defender. Ryan had slid towards a defender trying to clear the ball and the referee whipped out the red card to dismiss the unfortunate Harkin. A mistimed challenge, yes but malicious, no and that’s a real shame for our top scorer who will now have to serve a suspension. A share of the points was a fair result on the night but it was a drastic improvement on the result at Lye Town earlier in the season so another little indication that Sphinx are moving in the right direction. Sphinx are next in action on Saturday when they host Long Eaton Utd at Sphinx Drive.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 1 LYE TOWN 1
COVENTRY SPHINX MAN OF THE MATCH: LIAM CAIRNS
Matt Taylor again played well at the back as did all of the defence with chances strictly limited all evening. Callum Woodward returned to the midfield, made an immediate difference and his leadership qualities stood out for me tonight. I’ve got to mention Gerald Zefi who, at the age of 16, made his debut and took it in his stride. The young striker came close to scoring too and had a very useful 66 minutes on the pitch. My Man of the Match is Liam Cairns who has returned to form in recent weeks and came up with the highlight of the game with his goal.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: DUTTON, LOWER, ((Zefi 18 mins), Williams 84 mins), HUDSON (Adjei 79 mins), TAYLOR, McCALLA, EGGLETON, DOWNES, WOODWARD, McGARRITY, HARKIN, CAIRNS