Midland Football League Premier Division
Coventry Sphinx 2-0 Racing Club Warwick
It was Derby day at the Ryona Engineering Supplies Stadium and Sphinx ran out winners after a composed display gave them a 2-0 victory in the August heat. Liam Kay opened the scoring early on and Rawlings added to the advantage early in the second half which was enough to see off Racing Club Warwick.
The Sphinx team is now starting to take on a settled look. Only two changes were made with Palmer coming in for Howard and Christie replacing Kavanagh from the team that were put out of the FA Cup on Friday night at Northern Premier League side Mickleover Sports.
Sphinx responded well to Friday nights FA Cup disappointment, although they were the underdogs with two leagues between the sides. It was back to league business on Bank Holiday Monday and they got off to an ideal start with little more than five minutes on the clock. A Woodward corner fell to Albrighton at the far post and his drive back across the area ended up at Woodward’s feet again. Woodward displayed great composure to pick out Liam KAY who was loitering near the edge of the penalty area and he clipped a beautiful finish into the top corner which caught the keeper flat footed. The early advantage had gone to Sphinx and they continued to have more of the game. Sphinx went close later in the half with a rasping Christie drive thumping the base of the near post. Warwick were showing signs of recovery as the half went on and they forced Sphinx to defend resiliently on occasions. Sphinx were well up to the defensive task though and continued to attack the Warwick goal whenever the opportunity arose.
A satisfying first half performance for Sphinx and they began the second half in a similar vein to how they started the first half. Seven minutes into the second half they extended their lead with a goal of real simplicity but plenty of quality nonetheless. Centre Back Louis Guest stepped forward to just inside the Warwick half and then proceeded to give us his best Glen Hoddle impression! A fine forward ball from Guest arrived into the path of RAWLINGS and a touch followed by a sharp finish gave Sphinx a two goal cushion. The heat of the summer’s afternoon was starting to take its toll on the players and a drinks break soon followed midway through the half. A knock then forced off Lawrence Rawlings who was replaced by Youth team striker Dan Kelly who was fresh from a midweek hat-trick for the Sphinx Youth team. Last season’s Youth Captain, Max Howard, then joined the play as Lee Knibbs looked to get fresh legs on the pitch. Kelly had a couple of chances to put the game to bed but the game looked to be under reasonable control by Sphinx and they proceeded to maintain their unbeaten home record and claim the three points.
A crowd of 204 enjoyed the match and the majority went home happy after an authoritative Sphinx performance that was backed up by two good goals and a defence that stood firm. Next up for Sphinx is an FA Vase tie at home on Saturday against fellow Midland League side AFC Wulfrunians.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: CROSS, WHITELAW, TUFAN, KAY, ALBRIGHTON, GUEST, PALMER (Howard 71 mins), WOODWARD ©, CHRISTIE (Kavanagh 90 mins), BILLING, RAWLINGS (Kelly 68 mins)
Unused Subs: Pearson and Whitmore
MAN OF THE MATCH: LIAM KAY
There were plenty of performances to be enthused by today. Tom Cross was solid in the Sphinx goal and he was brilliantly protected by centre backs Albrighton and Guest. The full backs were also tough to beat and Whitelaw and Tufan completed a formidable defence. The midfield engine room had Captain Woodward working alongside Harvey Billing who worked his socks off to produce arguably his best Sphinx display so far. Veteran centre forward Iyseden Christie provided the focal point to the Sphinx attack and he was complimented by the incredible energy of Rawlings who also scored a goal of real quality. My Man of the Match goes to Liam Kay who produced a classy all round midfield performance. Kay was tough in the tackle and also moved the ball around really well but the icing on the cake was his goal that set Sphinx on their way to victory.