Midland Football League Premier Division
Sporting Khalsa 5-0 Coventry Sphinx
It was very much a case of after the Lord Mayor’s Show for Coventry Sphinx on Saturday. They travelled to one of the favourites for the league title and Khalsa demonstrated precisely why they are considered genuine title challengers. Khalsa exploded out of the blocks and raced into a two goal lead and a further goal just before half time effectively ended the contest. Sphinx improved in the second half but two further goals made it a miserable day in the Black Country for the Sphinx.
Sphinx manager Lee Knibbs welcomed back senior keeper Tom Cross and made further changes with the unavailable Kay, Tufan and Noon replaced by Billing, Kavanagh and Christie. Sporting Khalsa were instantly on the front foot and Sphinx had a bit of an onslaught to deal with early on. It was all Khalsa and 14 minutes in they opened the scoring after fine wing play ended with a tempting cross that was put in from close range. Khalsa repeated the trick just 7 minutes later with another right wing cross finished from close range. A further blow followed for Sphinx with experienced right back George Whitelaw replaced by youngster Alex Pearson who is normally deployed much further forward. The game settled but Khalsa found another goal on the stroke of half with a classy turn and finish into the corner.
Sphinx came out for the second half knowing the game was all but over but they set about improving on their first half showing and looked far more competitive as a result. A goal at this stage would have given Sphinx a glimmer of hope but Khalsa were equal to them at the back and went on to add a fourth in the 72nd minute. Defender Mark Albrighton needed to be replaced on 76 minutes and with substitute options limited, striker Ryan Palmer came on which made a reshuffle necessary. Khalsa still had the thirst for more goals and they added one further strike to complete the scoring late on.
Sometimes you just have to accept that the opposition were by far the better team on the day and today was one of those occasions. Sphinx had first-hand experience of the levels required to be title challengers today and it will be a big surprise if Sporting Khalsa are not in the title shake up at the end of the season based on that showing.
Sphinx soon have an opportunity to rectify that result with a home league fixture on Tuesday evening at the Ryona Engineering Supplies Stadium against Stourport Swifts. That is soon followed by an FA Cup Preliminary Round tie away at Mickleover Sports on Friday night. Mickleover are two levels above Sphinx and they will travel to Derby looking to pull off an FA Cup shock.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: CROSS, WHITELAW (Pearson 29 mins), HOWARD, BILIC, ALBRIGHTON (Palmer 76 mins), GUEST, RAWLINGS, WOODWARD ©, CHRISTIE, BILLING (Caputo 72 mins), KAVANAGH
Unused Subs: Billy and O’Connor
MAN OF THE MATCH: CALLUM WOODWARD
The skipper never stopped working and covered an extraordinary amount of crowd to try to get his team in the game. Lawrence Rawlings showed a similar work rate and Max Howard worked his socks off in his efforts to deal with arguably the best winger in the league.