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Match Report: Hat-trick hero Faulkner the match winner

1 week ago By Sharon Taylor

Midland Football League Premier Division

Saturday 1st December - Sphinx Drive, Coventry
14’ Faulkner - Coventry Sphinx
45’ Harkin - Coventry Sphinx
48’ Faulkner - Coventry Sphinx
60’ Faulkner - Coventry Sphinx
82’ Yahiya - Highgate Utd
Coventry Sphinx continued their goal scoring form with a comprehensive victory over Highgate Utd at Sphinx Drive on Saturday. An early Faulkner strike gave them the advantage and by the hour mark Faulkner had completed his first hat-trick and Sphinx were cruising at 4-0 up. A late Highgate consolation goal was all they could muster as Sphinx climbed to 4th place in the MFL Premier Division.
Just two changes were made from the team that had won 5-1 at Wolverhampton Sporting the previous weekend. Jackson Downie returned from suspension to take up his position in the heart of the Sphinx midfield and Liam Cairns also came back into the side as he completes his return from injury. Sphinx started by forcing the visiting keeper into a fine save just minutes into the game. Jackson Downie’s rasping drive was only keep out by a sharp save low to the keeper’s right. Sphinx continued to create the better openings and Ryan Harkin was the next to try his luck with an effort over the bar. Coventry Sphinx soon opened the scoring with a swift passing move that began in their own half when Callum Woodward won back the ball in midfield. After “Woody” won the ball, Harkin was quick to react and spread the play to Cairns on the right. Cairns soon sent Grandison away down the right and he dribbled in towards the corner of the box where he clipped in a lovely ball for FAULKNER to run onto and crash past the keeper. A fine team goal and a fine finish too. Highgate then had a 15 minute spell that failed to test the Sphinx keeper Tom Cross. Their glimpses of goal never resulted with a shot on target with Sphinx looking relatively comfortable in defence. Just as we entered first half injury time, Sphinx doubled their lead from a corner kick. Woodward sent in his usual quality delivery, Guest rose highest to send the ball back into the danger zone and HARKIN reacted quickest to guide the ball into the back of the net. A great time to extend the lead and Sphinx headed into the break with a well earned lead.
Any thoughts of a potential Highgate comeback were soon put to bed with Sphinx hitting their third goal within three minutes of the restart. A long ball forward from Tom Cross started things off and Ryan Harkin did well to ease a defender off the ball before releasing Faulkner into the box with an accurate pass. FAULKNER finished with a smart clip around the keeper and Sphinx were three goals up and on the way to victory. It was soon four when Faulkner was quick to take advantage of an error to claim his first hat-trick. Woodward once again sent in the corner and under minimal pressure from Grandison, the keeper dropped the ball when he appeared to have caught it. The loose ball ricocheted back towards the centre of goal and a gleeful FAULKNER hit the ball home from close range. It looked game over for a dispirited Highgate now and Lee Knibbs soon made use of his substitutes. Charlie Faulkner was the first to take a seat on the bench with his work more than done for the day. As a contest, this game was over and we were only an hour into proceedings. All Highgate had left was some pretty industrial tackling with one challenge from Lei Brown on Lewis Hudson leaving Brown a touch fortunate to stay on the pitch. Highgate had made a triple substitution after the fourth goal and one of those substitutes nicked a consolation goal but that made little impact on the comprehensive nature of the victory. Sphinx scored some quality goals and equally demonstrated their ability to deal with the physical side of things too.
The goals are getting the attention at the moment but there are plenty of unsung heroes making big contributions to this side at the moment. Defenders such as Quirke, Guest and Stringfellow go about their business with little fuss but they make the life of Tom Cross an easier one. There are leaders all over the park and there are no finer examples than Callum Woodward. His midfield partner Jackson Downie is maturing into a fine all round midfielder and he put in another strong performance. Joel Grandison has got some goals but his unselfish play has created the space for the likes of Faulkner and Harkin to play. Harkin scored one and assisted one today but the hat-trick from Charlie Faulkner is impossible to ignore. Three good goals and his all round play gets him todays Man of the Match.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: CROSS, STRINGFELLOW, HUDSON, DOWNIE, GUEST, QUIRKE, CAIRNS (O’Grady 69 mins), WOODWARD ©, GRANDISON, FAULKNER (Phillips 66 mins), HARKIN (Jackson 79 mins). Unused subs: Rock and Shaheen
Coventry Sphinx return to action on Tuesday 4th December with a League Cup tie at Sphinx Drive. Coventry United are the visitors for this local derby.

Updated 12:36 - 2 Dec 2018 by Sharon Taylor

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