Match Report 03.01.22 Sphinx 1-3 Rugby Town

Match Report 03.01.22 Sphinx 1-3 Rugby Town

By Sharon Taylor
3 January
Share via
FacebookTwitter
https://www.pitchero.com/clubs

By Chris Nee


The first Uhlsport United Counties League Premier Division South fixture of 2022 didn't go to
plan for Coventry Sphinx, who fell short against Rugby Town on the New Year's Bank
Holiday.
Sphinx lost 3-1 at home to their near neighbours and were soundly beaten thanks to
arguably their most lacklustre performance of the season so far.
John Woodward and Shaun Thomas were without suspended skipper Callum Woodward
and kept faith with a midfield of Harvey Billing, Lewis Noon and Luke Downes. Louis Guest
started on the bench, with James Bryson leading the defensive three alongside Jamie
Draper and Jack Downes once more.
Rugby put themselves out of reach early when we met at Butlin Road earlier in the season,
and they looked to get off to another fast start in this reverse fixture. In the third minute,
Sphinx goalkeeper and stand-in captain Tom Cross tipped a powerful drive over the bar and
the visitors hit both posts from the corner kick that followed.
Sphinx were up for the quick start too, however, and Lewis Chester had a low shot turned
around the post by Rugby goalkeeper Ashley Bodycote in the fifth minute after a nice pass
by Callum Stewart.
Three minutes later, Chester's enterprise paid off at the end of a tremendous passing move
by the home team. His driven cross was blocked by a Rugby hand and Stewart stepped up
to send Bodycote the wrong way and roll the penalty kick into the bottom corner of his net.
After an even first quarter played mostly in midfield, Sphinx had to start defending resolutely
all over the pitch as the away side began to control the play.
Rugby's Adam Shaw just missed the top corner after a cheap giveaway in the 22nd minute,
though, and Draper was soon required to head a cross off the line. In doing so, he delayed
an equaliser that looked increasingly likely and wasn't far away.
Sphinx had a couple of chances to make it 2-0. Stewart was thwarted by some last-ditch
defending after a miscued clearance sent him through on Bodycote's goal, and Chester
fizzed another shot just wide of the post.
At the other end, David Kolodynski's glancing header was well saved by Cross. Sphinx had
started to play some decent stuff again but Rugby's threat was clear, and eventually led to a
foul in the Sphinx area in the 35th minute.
After a lengthy delay, Loyiso Recci sent Cross to his right and the ball to his left to equalise
from the spot. By now, the visitors had their tails up and came close once more before the
teams went in level at half time.
The hosts made a positive start in the early minutes of the second half but were quickly
hindered by Rugby's success in winning second balls in key areas of the pitch. By the 56th minute Sphinx were a clear second best and Cross was diving across his goal to keep the
scores level with a terrific save.
Rugby got their lead a few minutes later. After a corner was cleared on the hour, the ball was
delivered again and headed in by Jamal Clarke to make it 2-1.
Shaw fired over in the 69th minute but it wasn't long before Rugby were 3-1 up, leaving
Sphinx with a mountain to climb on the day they forgot their quickdraws.
The third goal was less than impressive defensively but offered a short and sharp lesson in
letting Kolodynski get on the ball in the penalty area. It’s only going to end one way.
Sphinx embarked upon a modest fightback in the last ten minutes. Cross stayed big to make
a save on the break with two remaining as the home team pushed forward in search of a late
turnaround.
Jack Downes and Chester had shots blocked in stoppage time but that was all Sphinx could
muster at the end of a match made all the more difficult by an injury to Jamal Adams just a
few minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Sphinx's plan changed on a dime, Rugby were already in the ascendancy and took full
advantage. Sometimes, it's just not your afternoon.
This was a sad day for our club for reasons that have nothing – and yet, ultimately,
everything – to do with football. We can be proud of the way the players conducted
themselves and how they showed their respect for the men we lost over the holidays.
And we can be proud of how they were represented on the field, too. Coventry Sphinx is a
club with ambition and tenacity. We like to punch above our weight and we expect maximum
effort from our players.
They very rarely disappoint. Regardless of results, even performances, we have a group of
players this season who will always put in a shift. More wins will follow as a result of that,
and a lean Christmas is no reason to be disheartened.
Teamsheet
Cross, J. Downes, Rawlings, Billing (Guest), Draper, Bryson, Chester, Noon, H. Smith,
Stewart, L. Downes (Adams (Stone)). Unused subs: Hallett, J. Kennedy
Share via
FacebookTwitter
https://www.pitchero.com/clubs