Match report 04.12.2021 Sphinx 1-0 Easington Sports

Match report 04.12.2021 Sphinx 1-0 Easington Sports

By Sharon Taylor
6 December 2021
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By Chris Nee

Coventry Sphinx started an unusually sparse December with a win and three points against
Easington Sports in the Uhlsport United Counties League Premier Division South.
With defender Louis Guest suspended after his dismissal against Harborough Town and left
wing back Danny Fraser also unavailable, managers John Woodward and Shaun Thomas
welcomed Lewis Chester into the side for his debut.
Jack Downes dropped into defence with James Bryson and Harvey Smith returned as the
focal point of the attack. Jack Kennedy and Bruno Semedo were among the Sphinx
substitutes for the first time.
The home team made anything but light work of this win and a slow start hindered their
progress. Easington were much brighter from kick-off, quickly looking a more fluent side than
the one beaten in Banbury early in the 2021/22 season.
Nevertheless it was Sphinx who generated the game's first opening. Jamal Adams raced on
to a bouncing ball in behind the Easington defence but goalkeeper Joe White stood tall to
block his effort. It was the first meaningful action in a tremendous performance in goal for the
Easington came much closer in the 24th minute. Reece Bayliss produced some slick work to
get into the penalty area and slipped a pass outside to Alfie Dunn. Dunn's strike didn't seem
to concern goalkeeper Tom Cross but got a good piece of the crossbar on its way over the
The home team came even closer three minutes later. Adams recovered a high ball on the
edge of the Easington box and it dropped nicely for Smith, who took his first-time shot
beautifully with his left foot on the half-volley.
His strike smacked the bottom of the far post and Sphinx followed up with two more attempts
in quick succession. White saved well from Adams and was in the right place to field a firm
shot from Loz Rawlings from outside the box.
Midfielder Lewis Noon was impressive in his 71 minutes and found himself on the right with
ten minutes remaining in the first half. He dug out a gorgeous cross to pick out Callum
Stewart, whose header went just wide of White's goal.
By now, Sphinx were starting to move through the gears. Callum Woodward was the next
player to have a goalbound shot blocked in the 40th minute and Smith couldn't keep the
follow-up under the bar because of defensive pressure from Easington. Stewart had been
the key creator with some fantastic skill and an excellent cross from the right wing.
Woodward tried again in the last minute of the first half, this time taking on a ball on the
bounce from a clearance that caught the wind. It was a smart and ambitious effort that beat
White but didn't drop in time to find the net.
The captain's corner in stoppage time led to a fleeting controversy. Sphinx's players believed
Bryson's header had been handled when it was diverted to safety but the officials decided
otherwise. Sphinx would have to find another way after the unusually lengthy interval.
Rawlings and Chester switched wings for the second half as Sphinx looked to continue the
improved flow from the end of the first.
Adams headed just over from another pinpoint Woodward corner kick in the first minute of
the half. A few minutes later an extraordinary sequence of play inside the Easington box
necessitated two fabulous and instinctive saves from White including one from his own
Another minute passed and a clipped ball over the top held up in the wind for Stewart. The
young forward settled it and got his shot away well, only for White to make another save with
his boot. Still Sphinx couldn't break the deadlock.
In the 53rd minute the Easington goalkeeper produced one of his best saves of the
afternoon to keep out a powerful left-footed shot from Adams, and he was soon in action
again to grab a Stewart header from another Woodward set piece.
Despite Sphinx's chances it remained, for the most part, a rather scrappy affair with a
simmering antagonism between some of the players. One of them, Easington's Bayliss, won
a free kick on the edge of the Sphinx box.
His shot from the dead ball sailed harmlessly over in the 68th minute but Easington
appeared to have absorbed Sphinx's improved spell in the second half and were beginning
to impose themselves again.
The wind played a part once more as Adams got in behind in the 73rd minute. There was no
touch from the goalkeeper on this occasion but the Sphinx striker's low shot across him was
off target.
Two minutes later the winning goal finally arrived. Bryson, who was superb in the second
half in particular in Guest's absence, intercepted the ball on the left and embarked upon a
trademark amble forward.
The central defender angled a lovely diagonal pass to release Stewart into the Easington
penalty area. Stewart slipped a confident low finish past White and into the corner of the net.
Cross had to make a decent save from a speculative effort in the 77th minute but there was
a more significant scare to come in stoppage time after Easington substitute Sam Sherpa
Moore had spent the last ten minutes in the sin bin.
Long throw-ins from the right caused some late problems for Sphinx as Easington went on
the hunt for an equaliser, and the visitors struck the inside of the post when one wasn't
adequately cleared in the 91st minute.
Cross was forced to make another save in the 92nd minute but his team's narrow lead held
to earn three points and get December underway with a win after November had ended on a
more disappointing note.
Although it was the second win against Easington, this was by far the tougher of two
matches that might have gone either way had the opposition carried more of an attacking
threat when it counted. For their part, Sphinx have played better this season and lost.

Cross, Downes, Rawlings, Noon (Stone), Draper, Bryson, Chester, Woodward, Smith,
Adams (Hallett), Stewart. Unused subs: J. Kennedy, Semedo

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