Match Report 18.12.21 Sphinx 5-2 GNG Oadby Town

Match Report 18.12.21 Sphinx 5-2 GNG Oadby Town

By Sharon Taylor
18 December 2021
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By Chris Nee


Coventry Sphinx extended their winning run in all competitions to three matches with a
comfortable 5-2 home win against GNG Oadby Town in the Uhlsport United Counties
League Premier Division South.
John Woodward and Shaun Thomas named goalkeeper Tom Cross as captain with Callum
Woodward and Louis Guest suspended. Jack Downes continued to cover at centre back,
while Harvey Billing made his first Sphinx start of the season in midfield. Leo Stone also
made his first start, with Callum Stewart moving forward to replace injured striker Jamal
Adams.
Of Sphinx's five goals, four were scored by a defender or wing back and three by players
without a Sphinx goal before this match.
They started quickly and were full of intent from the off, with Stewart in particular looking
capable of causing real problems for the Oadby defence. With eight minutes played he
combined well with Stone, whose attempt from 20 yards wouldn't dip in time to test visiting
goalkeeper Charlie Andrews.
Although Sphinx were making headway, they needed to improve their quality on the ball in
the early going. Lewis Noon played his part with some superb dead ball deliveries, including
a couple of consecutive free kicks as Oadby picked up two bookings in quick succession.
In the 14th minute he whipped in a wicked free kick towards striker Harvey Smith. It was just
out of reach but James Bryson snuck round the back and was unlucky to see his header clip
the woodwork.
It was Smith who provided the game's first moment of quality from open play three minutes
later. He threaded a fantastic pass into the channel for Loz Rawlings to get the attack
started, and another for Stone to keep it going shortly afterwards.
Stone passed the ball across towards the back post, where Stewart took two goes at it but
successfully smuggled it over the line after Rawlings had nudged the cross in his direction.
Sphinx were good value for their lead and Smith was creating again within moments, this
time teeing up a chance for Stone near the penalty spot. Oadby's defence had the answer.
The lead established, Noon resumed set piece duty in the 23rd minute and fizzed in a
vicious free kick in pursuit of a second goal. Bryson's towering header flew just wide for a
goal kick, though he felt a corner was warranted.
Stewart caught a volley sweetly on the edge of the box but Andrews held it well. His team
were finding their way in the game, showing some neat passing ability in attack and keeping
the Sphinx back line on their toes.
But they, and indeed Sphinx, were unable to create much as the first half neared its end.
Noon, Smith and Bryson made sure the home team took a two-goal cushion into the break
nonetheless.
Another free kick from Noon was perfectly measured for Smith, who did everything right with
his header. Andrews thwarted him with a low save, though, but Bryson was on hand to tuck it
home and make it 2-0 with the half almost over.
The home team came close to adding to their advantage early in the second half, with
Smith’s shot blocked after a superb Bryson through ball, but it was Oadby who scored the
first goal of the half.
A quick free kick led to a foul in the box and the awarding of a penalty. Andre Williams took it
and Cross got down well to make the save, but Lamar Parkes followed in without any Sphinx
competition and touched in the rebound to reduce the deficit in the 54th minute.
One of the biggest influences on the outcome of this match was the pressing of Lewis
Chester, from which he benefited directly twice in the second half. Less than sixty seconds
after the Oadby goal, he won the ball in the attacking third and chipped it towards the back
post.
Whether intentional or not, it looked in from the moment it left his boot. Sure enough, it
dropped over Andrews and inside the far post. Sphinx’s two-goal lead was restored and
Chester himself would soon put the game to bed.
Smith and Draper went close to making it 4-1 before Oadby flashed a header wide from a
corner in the 62nd minute, with the game in a nice rhythm. Sphinx were in third gear but
remained tidy and compact until Chester made sure of the result in the 74th minute.
He won the ball high up the pitch again, and this time he carved out space for a low shot
across Andrews and into the bottom corner. There was no mistaking his second for a cross –
this was pinpoint finishing all the way. With three goals in it, the visitors had too much to do
and a formidable challenge in their way.
In the 77th minute Sphinx added a fifth and it was a pay-off for desire once again. Jamie
Draper pinched the ball and fed Stewart before continuing a determined run into the box.
Stewart did his part brilliantly, going clear and squaring the ball for the centre back to score a
tap-in and claim his first senior goal for the club.
Two minutes later Oadby pulled one back again. Yaegan Gore finished neatly after good
work up the visitors’ left and a square ball across the Sphinx goal. Disappointed to concede
again, Sphinx set about making amends.
Substitute Zach Hallett made an opening for himself but fired over in the 83rd minute and
Chester’s low shot was deflected just wide of the near post with five minutes remaining,
leaving a hat-trick tantalisingly out of reach.
In the last minute Stewart looked to add a little stardust to the scoreline, showcasing some
terrific footwork but shooting over from a corner kick by two-goal man Chester on the right
wing.
Sphinx headed into a short Christmas break in winning form and with the goals flowing.
Assuming the government keep their beaks out of it, the club has ahead of it an exciting few
weeks.
League fixtures against Coventry United, Rugby Town and Northampton ON Chenecks await
before a Buildbase FA Vase Fourth Round tie against London Lions at Sphinx Drive on
Saturday 15th January.
Teamsheet
Cross, J. Downes, Rawlings, Noon (J. Kennedy), Draper, Bryson, Chester, Billing, Smith
(Hallett), Stewart, Stone (L. Downes). Unused sub: Semedo
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