Match Report 09.04.22 Eynesbury Rovers 0-0 Sphinx

Match Report 09.04.22 Eynesbury Rovers 0-0 Sphinx

By Sharon Taylor
10 April
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By Chris Nee

In-form Coventry Sphinx had to settle for a goalless away draw against Eynesbury Rovers in
the Uhlsport United Counties League Premier Division South, bringing their terrific winning
run to an end.
But Shaun Thomas and John Woodward's team added another match to their unbeaten
streak and seldom looked in danger of defeat on a frustrating afternoon in Cambridgeshire.
Sphinx started with an unchanged line-up for the third game in a row, with Tom Cross
protected by Jamie Draper, Louis Guest and James Bryson, while Callum Martin and Lewis
Noon continued in the wing back positions outside Callum Woodward, Jack Downes and
Sufyan Zia. Matthew Shipman and Callum Stewart partnered up again up front.
They didn’t have it all their own way after one of the longest away journeys of the season but
they made a positive start to the match, immediately getting themselves on the front foot and
looking very capable in attacking areas.
It was a competitive fixture from the beginning and Eynesbury made their ability known just
as much as Sphinx in the first 15 minutes. But it was the visitors who had the first sight of
goal when Woodward’s free kick was cleared as far as Zia, who wound up a left-footed
volley that zipped just wide of the foot of the post.
Sphinx's lack of options on the bench cost them dear. Woodward was caught by a late tackle
at knee height that went unpunished by the referee and eventually succumbed to its effects
with less than 20 minutes played.
Luke Downes came into midfield but the need for changes later on had to go unmet. With
the game played largely in the middle, the captain was a difficult loss to navigate.
The away team responded well, though, and produced a lovely move with 25 minutes gone.
Stewart and Jack Downes were heavily involved before Shipman was found in behind the
Eynesbury defence in the left channel. His cross was met by Luke Downes, whose stooping
header was just wide of goal.
As half time approached, the tone of the game shifted. It would stay on the edge for the
remainder, and it escalated thanks to a particularly spicy melee in the 36th minute. Sphinx’s
Jack Downes was booked for his part in it. The Eynesbury player who shoved him with two
hands under the gaze of the officials was not.
A minute later the home team got Sphinx turned for the first time and strong appeals for
offside were turned down. The resultant shot ended up in the side netting as the home team
spurned their first chance of the match.
The visitors had a couple more attempts before the break. Jack Downes caught a left-footer
nicely from the edge of the D but his shot was held with relative comfort by the goalkeeper. A
couple of minutes later another Shipman cross was partially cleared and Martin, stretching,
could only find the side netting with his header.
In first half stoppage time there was another scrum, sparked by a coming together between
Guest and a home player, whose embarrassing claim to have been stamped upon out of
view of the referee ought to have had repercussions.
Instead, Guest was booked despite no foul having been given against him. The Eynesbury
player who attempted to kick him with two feet and then get him sent off was not.
By the time Shipman’s chance was smothered by the goalkeeper and a defender five
minutes into the second half, it was clear that this was to be neither a vintage Sphinx
performance nor an eye-catching spectacle.
The away team had a few chances in the second half of an increasingly ill-tempered affair.
Shipman shot over after being smartly fed by Stewart and stepping into the box on his right
foot in the 52nd minute, and Stewart clipped a free kick over the crossbar in the 58th.
With 25 minutes left, Jack Downes played a magnificent pass beyond the home defence for
Stewart, who had to wait for it to bounce and did superbly to get a shot away. It was blocked
and diverted to safety.
In the 69th minute a whipped Zia free kick was tipped over by the goalkeeper and Eynesbury
were awarded a goal kick, and the same taker delivered another dead ball soon after.
Draper’s glancing header just wide demonstrated Sphinx’s continued threat in front of goal.
Sphinx’s endeavour was admirable in trying circumstances. In the 79th minute Stewart was
booked for raising a boot while moving around to distract the Eynesbury goalkeeper as he
kicked the ball out of his hands. The Eynesbury player who’d done the same two minutes
earlier was not.
One point might have been none, but for a let-off with nine minutes remaining. A cross from
the Eynesbury left created a very presentable chance that was wasted by the hosts and
Sphinx signed off with a shot wide from Shipman, 25 yards out with only a couple of minutes
to play.
Sphinx departed from St Neots knowing they were leaving a couple of points on the table,
but the home team's recent form marks this out as a respectable result for both sides,
neither of whom fail to score very often, and two solid defensive showings.
Despite Sphinx dropping their first points since February, the mood remains upbeat as the
2021/22 season draws to a close. There are more points to be won and there's no sign of
the team taking their foot off the gas prematurely.

Cross, Draper, Martin, J. Downes, Guest, Bryson, Noon, Woodward (L. Downes), Shipman,
Stewart, Zia (J. Kennedy). Unused sub: Fraser

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