After a run of victories full of goals, Coventry Sphinx fell to defeat on Easter Monday against a committed Long Eaton who emerged with a hard earned victory. Despite having little to play for, Sphinx have impressed in recent weeks with their attacking football that had produced a number of victories. Today they had both of their leading scorers missing for different reasons and ultimately that was reflected in the scoreline as they failed to breech a tough Long Eaton defence. Having said that, Long Eaton deserved to take the points after putting in a battling display after taking an early lead. Long Eaton got the killer second goal 15 minutes from time to end any hopes Sphinx had of making a comeback but the Sphinx target of a top 10 finish is still very much in their hands.
Towers and Harkin were unavailable and the concern before the match was where were the goals going to come from with the two leading scorers missing. Manager Stuart Dutton chose to play centre back Matty Taylor in the centre forward position rather than a raw youngster and Luke Downes returned to the side to replace the injured Pierce Kiembi. Long Eaton made the first foray forward but Sphinx got away the first shot inside the first minute with Blackmore driving over the hosts bar. Sphinx had another chance early on with McCalla heading over from a Woodward corner but it was Long Eaton who took the lead on 15 minutes. Long Eaton kept the ball alive in the box and captain Paulo Piliero was the man to finish with the aid of a slight deflection. There were big calls from Sphinx for a handball in the build up but the goal stood and the home side had the lead. Long Eaton responded better to the goal with a real determination to protect their lead but Sphinx had a glorious chance to equalise on 36 minutes when Hudson shot over the bar from close range after a Sphinx corner wasn’t cleared.
HALF TIME: LONG EATON UNITED 1 COVENTRY SPHINX 0
The half time team talk seemed to do the trick for Sphinx and they began to get themselves back into the game. Sphinx were exerting some pressure on the Long Eaton defence but a combination of solid defending and a lack of firepower maintained the scoreline at 1-0. Manager Stuart Dutton then made a change and took off a defender and gave 16 year old striker Gerald Zefi an
opportunity. As hard as Sphinx were working they couldn’t seriously test the home keeper and the second goal on 75 minutes effectively ended the game as a contest. Long Eaton worked the ball well on the right of the penalty box to create the space for Campbell to deliver a free cross and the good delivery was capitalised on by Rickford who was unmarked in the box. Sphinx hadn’t given in but the second goal had took the wind out of their sails and Long Eaton went on to claim a crucial victory.
A disappointing defeat in the end but Long Eaton deserve credit for their performance when a win was needed to secure their Premier Division status. Sphinx are back in action on Saturday when they welcome Stourport Swifts to Sphinx Drive. This is our last home game of the season and we are also holding our presentation night in the bar after the match so come and join us at Sphinx Drive for the final time this season.
FULL TIME: LONG EATON UNITED 2 COVENTRY SPHINX 0
COVENTRY SPHINX MAN OF THE MATCH: LEWIS HUDSON
Liam Cairns looked bright in the Sphinx midfield and he’ll never let you down with his work rate and attitude. McGarrity was his usual busy self down the right but my Man of the Match is the left sided man Lewis Hudson. He defended well and was the best attacking outlet for Sphinx all game.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: DUTTON, LOWER, HUDSON, DOWNES, McCALLA (Zefi 65 mins), EGGLETON, McGARRITY, WOODWARD (Williams 77 mins), TAYLOR, CAIRNS, BLACKMORE