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Match Report: Title hopes suffer blip with away defeat

2 weeks ago By Sharon Taylor

MFL Premier Division - Saturday 5th January - Grange Park

3’ Campbell (Long Eaton Utd)
35’ Towle (Long Eaton Utd)
52’ Towle (Long Eaton Utd)
78’ Towle (Long Eaton Utd)
Saturday was a day to forget for Coventry Sphinx when they were soundly beaten on the road at Long Eaton. Yes, Sphinx had a number of key players missing for this fixture but that provides no excuses with Long Eaton well worth the win. Sphinx got off to a poor start with a cheap free kick punished emphatically. The delivery came in from the right and although the delivery looked poor, Long Eaton were able to help it up into the box where Campbell hooked it over his head and into the Sphinx net. To their credit, Sphinx worked their way back into the game but the good work was undone when they conceded a sloppy second goal before half time. It was another set-piece that punished Sphinx and a rare spill from Tom Cross was helped over the line from close range. Sphinx had been their own worst enemy in this half but Long Eaton needed an excellent save from their keeper to prevent Grandison pulling a goal back. Sphinx needed to step up their game after the interval with a two goal deficit to recover.
Early in the second half a brilliant reaction save kept Sphinx out and that proved to be crucial with Long Eaton then capitalising on another error to extend their lead once more. A straightforward looking back pass to Cross wasn’t controlled and Long Eaton were quick to nip in and it left Towle to claim his second of the match by tapping into an empty net. Weaker teams than Sphinx would have given up at this point but they dug in and kept believing there was still a way back into this match. A tight offside call ruled out a Sphinx goal and Lee Knibbs made a triple substitution to energise his team. They couldn’t find the breakthrough though and Long Eaton confirmed the points with a hat-trick strike for Towle on 78 minutes. Good work on the left wing ended with a good cross and there was Towle to steer it in at the near post. That was game over now and Sphinx were left to lick their wounds and they now go into a three week break before the next fixture. They remain just five points off the league leaders and the break provides the manager with the opportunity to train with his squad and look at the possibility of bringing in players to strengthen his squad ahead of the final run of games in this title race.
Joel Grandison looked the biggest threat from an attacking point but Lewis Hudson was the stand out player on the Sphinx left. Regardless of the score, Lewis continued to work his socks off and provided a good attacking outlet on the left hand side.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: CROSS, STRINGFELLOW (Deehan 62 mins), HUDSON, CAIRNS, QUIRKE ©, GUEST, PHILLIPS, O’GRADY (Jackson 62 mins), BARLONE (Hilton 62 mins), GARDNER, GRANDISON. Unused subs: Lower and Kelly
Coventry Sphinx are back in action on Saturday 26th January when they welcome Wolverhampton Sporting to Sphinx Drive for a Midland Football League Premier Division match.

Updated 18:00 - 7 Jan 2019 by Sharon Taylor

Where next?

Coventry Sphinx named Team of the Month MFL Premier Division honour for Sphinx
PREVIEW - LONG EATON UNITED v COVENTRY SPHINX Competition: Midland Football League Premier Division

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