Shepshed is always a tough place to go and Shepshed picked up an impressive looking home win previously with a 2-0 defeat of Highgate Utd. Coventry Sphinx turned up and swept them aside with a four goal blast inside the first 25 minutes to effectively end the game as a contest. Sphinx went on to get five goals and that followed up their five goal defeat of Lye Town last time out. Harkin, Faulkner and Towers were amongst the goals again as Sphinx overcame 10th place Shepshed to cement their own position in the top 6 of the MFL Premier Division.
An injury to regular centre back Louis Guest meant a slight reshuffle in the Sphinx defence and Luke Downes came in for Chris Sterling but other than that it was the same team that performed so well at Lye Town. Sphinx indicated they meant business from the off with Shepshed forced onto the back foot from the start. A good move won Sphinx a corner in the 4th minute and Sphinx capitalised on a superb delivery from Deehan to force the ball in via the head of a stooping Charlie FAULKNER. A perfect start for Sphinx and they keep up the high tempo to their play in the search for a second. Luke Downes was probing away in midfield and his work led to a free kick outside the penalty area. The ball looked well placed for a left footer but Ryan HARKIN stepped forward to leave the keeper grasping at a strike that was just too good for him. 2-0 after 18 minutes and the hosts just couldn’t get going so far due to the intensity of the Sphinx play. Another set piece led to a third goal soon after with TOWERS glancing in another excellent delivery into the box. Sphinx were 3-0 up after 21 minutes and it was warranted on their performance so far. Sphinx were in no mood to ease off and they came up with another good goal in the 26th minute. A lovely ball was clipped into the path of Faulkner and an exquisite touch from FAULKNER took him away from the defender and into the box where his drive beat the keeper. Sphinx had been ruthless up to this point but Shepshed stuck at it and nicked themselves a goal back on the half hour mark with Liam Read applying the finishing touch. We had a break from goals for the final 15 minutes of the half and Sphinx went into the interval with a healthy lead.
HALF TIME: SHEPSHED DYNAMO 1 COVENTRY SPHINX 4
Shepshed were expected to come out all guns blazing but it was Sphinx who started well and they were soon cranking up the pressure on the hosts. Harkin threatened on the counter attack and only a last ditch block near the by-line cut out his cross to Downes who was poised in the penalty area. Shepshed had a glorious chance themselves but Jack Tregartha stood up to the one on one situation brilliantly to deny Shepshed with a fine save. That chance gave Shepshed some encouragement and they applied a spell of pressure that Sphinx weathered. Shepshed did find a second goal with a straightforward header from a corner reducing the deficit to two goals on 70 minutes. Sphinx were still playing with confidence and manager Lee Knibbs made a triple substitution on 79 minutes which included the introduction of Youth team right back Reece Stowe. Shepshed hadn’t given up on this game yet but a HARKIN run and finish sealed the points in added time and took Sphinx to successive five goal away wins.
The start Sphinx had made to the game had made it incredibly difficult for Shepshed to get a result but to their credit they kept going and made Sphinx work to see out the game. The Sphinx finishing was clinical and they are certainly proving to be an exciting team to watch at the moment. Coventry Sphinx are on the road again on Saturday when they travel to Heanor Town in Derbyshire
FULL TIME: SHEPSHED DYNAMO 2 COVENTRY SPHINX 5
COVENTRY SPHINX MAN OF THE MATCH: JAMIE TOWERS
I could have easily picked Faulkner, Harkin, Downes, Woodward or Deehan for this but I’ve chosen Towers on this occasion. He got himself another goal and his quality in possession gave Sphinx a good base to play from. Shepshed couldn’t cope with the pace and trickery of Faulkner and Harkin and they both got a pair of goals their performance deserved. Downes was looking close to his best in the Sphinx midfield and his eye for a pass was noticeable again. Woodward was a fine example of hard work giving you rewards and once again led with an outstanding work ethic. Deehan is settling back into the side superbly and his delivery is second to none.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: TREGARTHA, LOWER (c), DEEHAN (Stowe 79 mins), CAIRNS, QUIRKE, STRINGFELLOW, TOWERS (Sterling 79 mins, WOODWARD, HARKIN, DOWNES (Donaldson 79 mins), FAULKNER. Unused subs: Wanless, Bonkar