RESULT: COVENTRY SPHINX 2-1 BOLDMERE ST MICHAELS
57’ Joel Grandison (Coventry Sphinx)
68’ Jack Skinner (Boldmere St Michaels)
72’ Matt Gardner (Coventry Sphinx)
By Martin Sutton
Coventry Sphinx made it a maximum haul of points from the Christmas period with three wins from three fixtures in this Friday night match at Sphinx Drive. The depth of the Coventry Sphinx squad was tested with three key players missing this game. Regulars Tom Cross, Michael Quirke and Leigh Phillips were all unavailable and top scorer Ryan Harkin left the field early on after picking up an injury. Two moments of real quality got Sphinx the goals with Joel Grandison the scorer of the first and the provider for the second. Jake Allingan returned in the Sphinx goal after 10 months away from the game and he can thank the Sphinx defence for a relatively quiet evening on his return.
Another above average crowd had gathered for this match that could see Sphinx go within a point of the league leaders Ilkeston if they could get the three points. Sphinx had an attacking looking line up for this one and had some good chances to take the lead in the first half. Josh O’Grady whistled a shot just wide of the post but the two best chances fell to Joel Grandison who would have been disappointed not to score from at least one of them. Sphinx looked in control at the back but a goal was needed to really take charge of the game.
The opening goal came 12 minutes into the second half and it was a moment of quality that put Sphinx in front. Joel GRANDISON initially did well to retrieve a deep cross and he then worked his way into a shooting position near the edge of box before unleashing a fine strike inside the far post that left the keeper with no chance. Boldmere were back level within ten minutes and Sphinx would have been disappointed to concede such a simple goal. Boldmere delivered a free kick from their own half into the Sphinx box and the knock down was swooped on by Skinner who was quick to steer it into the net and equalise for the visitors.
Sphinx wasted little time in re-establishing their lead with the match winner coming minutes after the Boldmere equaliser. A Boldmere goal kick was won by Charlie Faulkner on the Sphinx right and Grandison then took possession to drive at the Boldmere defence down the right. He delivered a superb cross and there was striker Matt GARDNER who got up well to head past the keeper. A fine goal and it turned out to be the match winner. Boldmere had some glimpses of goal but Sphinx still looked relatively at ease on their lead and Grandison went close to adding to the Sphinx lead late on. Rhys Hilton led the pressing from the front and the debutant certainly didn’t lack enthusiasm in his first Sphinx appearance. The referee found 8 minutes of added time at the end of the match but Sphinx had done enough to take the points and continue their fine run of results. After the weekend fixtures, Sphinx have moved into 3rd place in the MFL Premier Division and are now just two points away from the top spot. They are now firmly in the title race and with just one promotion spot available, it’s all set up to be an exciting four months.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 2-1 BOLDMERE ST MICHAELS
COVENTRY SPHINX MAN OF THE MATCH: LIAM KAY
Charlie Faulkner was asked to play a different role and his energy was at the forefront of the Sphinx performance. Matt Gardner put away his goal superbly as did Joel Grandison who was also the key factor in creating the Gardner goal. Rhys Hilton came on as an early substitute and the on loan Birmingham City striker had a good debut. Rhys took time to get into the game but once he did he was a thorn in the side of Boldmere with his energy and pace. The defence provided the basis for this victory with Stringfellow and Guest excellent at the back but the vote goes to their defensive team mate Liam Kay who slotted into defence with ease and didn’t put a foot wrong all game.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: ALLINGAN, STRINGFELLOW ©, HUDSON, CAIRNS, KAY, GUEST, FAULKNER (Lower 90 mins), O’GRADY, HARKIN ((Hilton 17 mins) Kelly 90 mins), GARDNER, GRANDISON Unused sub: Leigh Phillips
Coventry Sphinx are back in action on Saturday 5th January when they travel to Nottingham for a league fixture against Long Eaton United.
Updated 13:45 - 30 Dec 2018 by Sharon Taylor