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Match Report: Sphinx held to a draw by league leaders

2 months ago By Sharon Taylor

Midland Football League Premier Division

Saturday 6th October - Sphinx Drive
35’ Walker (Penalty) - Ilkeston Town
56’ Reeves - Ilkeston Town
62’ Downie - Coventry Sphinx
84’ Phillips - Coventry Sphinx
Attendance: 151
An action packed match at Sphinx ended all square with Coventry Sphinx turning around a two goal deficit to look the most likely to win it in the end. A first half penalty and a wonderful strike early in the second half had given the visitors a two goal advantage. Sphinx came storming back and excellent strikes from Jackson Downie and Leigh Phillips levelled things up. Sphinx then pushed on for the winner but they would have to settle for a point against the league leaders in the end.
Lee Knibbs made four changes to the side that had lost 1-0 at Shepshed in midweek. Liam Cairns replaced Jackson Downie in the centre of midfield, Phillips and O’Grady returned to replace Sam Jackson and Ryan Harkin. Smikle also came in to lead the line in the absence of Jamie Towers.
The morning rain was clearing and a good crowd were in place to watch 5th place Sphinx take on the leaders at Sphinx Drive. It was a steady start to the match but 15 minutes in and Sphinx were rattling the cross bar with a clever effort from Josh O’Grady. There was little to choose between the sides but Sphinx were forced into a substitution before 30 minutes were up with defensive midfielder Liam Cairns succumbing to injury. Jackson Downie was the man to replace the unfortunate Cairns in the Sphinx midfield. Downie had a tough start to his involvement in the match with his challenge resulting in a penalty for Ilkeston. The spot kick was dispatched with little fuss to nudge the visitors in front ten minutes before half time. Sphinx were well in this game so there wasn’t much to be concerned about by going into the break a goal behind at this point.
Sphinx came back out looking to get on the front foot and they were certainly causing problems to the visitors defence although they were unable to breach it. Ilkeston then hit them with a sucker punch thanks to a fine goal from Reeves. His curling long range effort was heading for the top corner but Tom Cross did superbly well to get a hand it. That wasn’t enough to keep it out and the ball hit the inside of the post and travelled across goal to nestle in the net on the other side of the goal. The Sphinx response was immediate and Leigh Phillips was unfortunate to hit the post with an effort just a minute after the second Ilkeston goal. It didn’t take long for Sphinx to get their first goal though and it was a beauty from Jackson DOWNIE. Jackson intercepted a square pass some 25 yards out and that first touch with his left foot set up a high quality strike with his right foot that dipped over a flailing keeper. An even game had turned into a game dominated by Coventry Sphinx shortly after the visitor’s second goal and it was no surprise when Sphinx equalised with a rasping drive from the foot of Leigh PHILLIPS. Ilkeston were still providing a sporadic threat but there only looked like one winner at this stage. Ultimately the enemy for Sphinx was time but they can be more than satisfied with their response to going two goals down and will be disappointed not to have taken all the points in the end. Sphinx are a tough side to play against when they perform with that type of energy and commitment and they demonstrated that well today against the league leaders.
Michael Quirke led from the back in his usual no nonsense manner. He had good support from the likes of Scott Lower and Aaron Stringfellow. First half substitute Jackson Downie had a fine game capped by a stunning goal and his performance was even more impressive after conceding a penalty minutes after coming on. Leigh Phillips gave the full back a torrid time on the right and Charlie Faulkner looked sharp too. Callum Woodward patrolled the midfield with his usual enthusiasm but today’s choice is Josh O’Grady. Josh hit the bar early on and had the craft to create in tight spaces. His willingness to work also contributed to his performance today.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: CROSS, LOWER © (Guest 75 mins), HUDSON, CAIRNS (Downie 28 mins), QUIRKE, STRINGFELLOW, PHILLIPS, WOODWARD, SMIKLE (Harkin 69 mins), O’GRADY, FAULKNER. Unused subs: Deehan, Jackson
By Martin Sutton
Coventry Sphinx return to action on Tuesday 9th October when Birmingham City bring a squad to Sphinx Drive for a Birmingham FA Senior Cup tie.

Updated 19:35 - 7 Oct 2018 by Sharon Taylor

Where next?

Next at Sphinx Drive - COVENTRY SPHINX v BIRMINGHAM CITY Competition: Birmingham County FA Senior Cup
Next at Sphinx Drive - COVENTRY SPHINX v ILKESTON TOWN Competition: Midland Football League Premier Division

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