Coventry Sphinx extended their winning league run in emphatic style with a dominant performance in Wolverhampton. Wulfrunians came into the game in 8th place and on the back of a home win in midweek but they had no answer to a Sphinx side that is brimming full of confidence. Towers gave them an early lead before a strike apiece from Harkin and Donaldson gave them a deserved three goal advantage going into the break. Towers and Harkin added further goals early in the second half to end the game as a contest and that impressive result sends Sphinx up to 4th place in the MFL Premier Division.
Lee Knibbs named an unchanged side for today’s fixture that was delayed for half an hour due to the requirement for a replacement match official. The Wulfrunians Chairman stepped in to take on the assistant referee’s job and did very well in the circumstances. The delay caused Sphinx no problem based on how they started the game with their quick attacking play soon causing problems for the Wulfrunians defence. Charlie Faulkner was at the heart of the early forays deep into home territory and the first chance came when Faulkner was released by Woodward before crossing for Harkin who saw his first time shot saved. Another break forward followed and Faulkner’s cross was cut out but Sphinx didn’t have to wait much longer to open the scoring. Jamie TOWERS latched onto a through ball to beat the offside trap and showed tremendous composure to wrong foot the keeper and pass into an empty net to put Sphinx 1-0 up in the 13th minute. It was no more than they deserved but Wulfrunians responded by retaining the ball better in the following 15 minutes. Wulfrunians were shifting the ball around well but they were struggling to find a way through the solid Sphinx defence. Sphinx had absorbed that and were back to swift attacking soon after. Just before the half hour mark Harkin zipped down the right and delivered a decent ball into the box for Donaldson who attempted to score with a first time volley which the keeper was equal to. Harkin then burst through for the next opportunity but the keeper did well to thwart him before Donaldson saw his follow up shot blocked. Sphinx were building up a head of steam now but Wulfrunians suddenly threatened and forced Allingan into a brilliant save low to his right. Sphinx didn’t let that trouble them and soon took a 2-0 lead in the 39th minute. HARKIN made no mistake this time as he took the ball round the overworked keeper to slot into the net. Wulfrunians looked in trouble and they had little time to compose themselves before they were picking the ball out of the net again. Aaron DONALDSON was the man on target this time with a delightful drive into the corner from the edge of the box to make it 3-0 in the 42nd minute. Sphinx were now in no mood to ease off and only another save prevented Towers from converting a Faulkner cross before the break. Sphinx had been ruthless and Wulfrunians had a job on their hands to cope with Coventry Sphinx in this mood.
HALF TIME: AFC WULFRUNIANS 0 COVENTRY SPHINX 3
The teams emerged at half time with Sphinx sounding determined to press home the advantage but it was Wulfrunians who had the first chance with a long range screamer thumping the Sphinx post. Sphinx have a habit of responding to danger lately and they soon had a great chance of their own. Cairns played in Faulkner but his attempted chip fell nicely into the grateful keepers hands. Sphinx immediately went on the attack after getting the ball back and Harkin went on to torment the full back before unleashing a fierce shot that was kept out by a flying save. HARKIN soon got his second when he got on the end of a cross from the right and after taking a touch inside the defender he tucked in the 4th Sphinx goal of the day. 55 minutes gone now and it looked to be game over but Sphinx were hungry for more and continued to pour forward at every opportunity. Woodward was the next to go close with a diving header going over the bar and little more than a minute later Harkin turned provider to allow TOWERS in to slip his second goal past the keeper. Lee Knibbs started to utilise his substitutes at this point with big striker Pawel Tomczak coming on to offer a different problem to the under fire Wulfrunians defence. McGarrity and Barnwell soon joined him with Knibbs taking off three of his main players. Wulfrunians were still looking for a consolation goal but Sphinx remained fully focused at the back and continued to look for further goals themselves. The job had already been done comprehensively but Sphinx remained professional throughout. They had outclassed the opposition today and Wulfrunians just couldn’t cope with the pace of the Sphinx attacks. A highly impressive performance from Coventry Sphinx and there was no sign of them taking anything for granted in this match.
Next up for Coventry Sphinx is another away match with a trip to Shropshire to take on Shawbury Utd. Sphinx have never won at Shawbury so they’ll have to be fully prepared and on their game to take a result away from Shropshire.
COVENTRY SPHINX MAN OF THE MATCH: CHARLIE FAULKNER
A classic team performance with no weak link apparent and that was reflected in the result. Jake Allingan continues to impress and claimed another clean sheet for his collection. The back four were excellent and the centre back pair of Quirke and Guest couldn’t even be separated off the pitch never mind on it! Woodward and Cairns provided the work and quality in the heart of the team. Donaldson did well again and came up with a peach of a goal. The other goal scorers, Towers and Harkin have created a formidable partnership and they shared four goals today but my Man of the Match is Charlie Faulkner. I think this young man could still be running now with the outstanding work rate he showed. A real threat going forward and a bundle of energy without the ball he summed up everything about the Sphinx performance today.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: ALLINGAN, LOWER (C). STRINGFELLOW, CAIRNS, QUIRKE, GUEST, TOWERS (Tomczak 69 mins), WOODWARD (Barnwell 75 mins), HARKIN (McGarrity 73 mins), FAULKNER, DONALDSON