Match report 20.11.2021 Racing Club Warwick 1-3 Sphinx FA Vase 2nd round

Match report 20.11.2021 Racing Club Warwick 1-3 Sphinx FA Vase 2nd round

By Sharon Taylor
21 November
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By Chris Nee


The 2020/21 season lasted a little longer than most for Coventry Sphinx, who competed
sporadically into December before England went back into lockdown on the day Sphinx were
finally defeated in the Buildbase FA Vase.
One of the highlights of that run was the goalscoring form of Jamal Adams, who returned to
the club this season after a spell with Bedworth United. After missing Sphinx’s crushing First
Round win in 2021/22, Adams marked his own return to Vase action with two goals in a 3-1
Second Round win at Racing Club Warwick.
His second goal was spectacular and came at a crucial time in the match, making it 2-0 and
putting Sphinx in a strong position that soon yielded a third goal on what became a
memorable afternoon for the players, staff and supporters of the club.
With Harvey Smith unavailable Adams was joined up front by Callum Stewart, whose
versatility had proved a useful weapon in midfield in recent matches. Midfielder Jack
Downes returned to the starting line-up alongside Lewis Noon and skipper Callum
Woodward, and Sphinx’s first choice goalkeeper, defenders and wing backs were all present
and correct.
Racing came close to hitting the target in the second minute. Josh O’Grady hit the deck with
a marker nearby and recovered in time to take the resulting free kick, but Tom Cross
watched his strike drift safely wide.
Sphinx immediately went up the other end and a pass from Stewart teed up Adams, who
could only fire his left-footed shot into the side netting. The same combination opened
Racing up again five minutes later with a very similar outcome, but Sphinx were by now in
the ascendancy.
In the ninth minute the duet was reversed and Adams applied the slightest touch to flick a
through ball into the path of Stewart. He showed good strength to hold off a foul from a
defender to go clear with the advantage signalled. Racing goalkeeper Lewis Walker did well
to make an important block at his near post.
The away team took a deserved lead with quarter of an hour played. Woodward clipped in a
corner kick from the Sphinx left and it was cleared to the edge of the box, where Noon was
lining up a volley.
The midfielder caught it well and it took a nick off a defender to send it past Walker and back
off the crossbar. Adams was on hand and onside in the six-yard box to thump the ball home
for 1-0.
Adams and Stewart connected again a couple of minutes later, the latter feeding the former
only for his shot from a tight angle to be thwarted by another decent Walker save.
By the middle of the first half the game was shaping up to be a very competitive one despite
RCW’s lack of chances. Sphinx’s players were clearly desperate to progress to the Third
Round and were battling hard to make it happen.
Woodward’s set pieces have been a threat all season and another corner presented Adams
with a chance in the 26th minute of a fine first-half performance. On this occasion he couldn’t
get above the ball and his header sailed over the bar.
Two minutes later the home team offered up a dangerous moment of their own when
Costellis Lautaru took on a difficult strike from outside the box. It was always curling wide of
the post and Cross remained untested until he had to field a harmless shot on target from
Lautaru two minutes before half time.
Sphinx came closer to scoring the next goal before the break. In the 44th minute they were
awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal and Noon had a crack. He hit the target and Walker
got there to parry. He had to get up quickly to stand up to a follow-up effort from Loz
Rawlings, and got a deserved slice of luck to keep the game within Racing’s reach at the
halfway stage.
Shaun Thomas and John Woodward’s side started the second half as they’d played the first,
grafting their way to supremacy and making it count when it mattered.
Ten minutes into the half Adams and Rawlings produced some excellent attacking play on
the right, working the ball into the centre for captain Woodward. Danny Fraser was
screaming for the ball to his left and Sphinx got some good fortune of their own when
Woodward’s shot was blocked and squirted out to the left wing back. He found the space to
cross for Stewart but the young forward was beaten to the ball and it was diverted wide for
yet another corner.
The game’s indisputable, undeniable highlight arrived in the 58th minute. After picking up a
loose ball deep inside his own half, Adams looked up to see Walker off his goal line.
The Sphinx striker was between his own goal and the centre circle but lifted a perfect chip
over the goalkeeper’s head and into the net via a bounce just before the line. Everyone knew
it was in before it had even passed the halfway line. It was a phenomenal goal, enabled by a
superb piece of vision and even better execution, and the Sphinx celebrations matched the
moment.
Even as the supporters and kitman caught their breath on the sidelines, the Sphinx players
just kept on rolling. Another spell of pressure quickly paid off and they were awarded a
penalty when Stewart was tripped in the box in the 62nd minute.
He took the kick himself and slotted it with some venom into Walker’s bottom-left corner to
make it 3-0 with his fourth Vase goal of the season. He displayed his maturity from the spot
again to cap off a terrific performance.
There was still time for Rawlings to go close with a header from a corner in the 87th minute,
for Aaron Stringfellow to come on for his second Sphinx debut, and for Racing Club Warwick
to pull one back with a stoppage time goal.
It came from a corner that was headed down into danger and headed home by a stooping
Hannibal Sallami with 93 minutes played. Sphinx had two similar goals disallowed during the
match, one for an apparent foul on Walker in the Racing goal and another for offside on the
line, so it was an especially frustrating concession so close to the end of a comfortable win.
Despite the late goal it was a monstrous shift from the 14 Sphinx players who contributed to
the victory. They seldom give anything less than everything and this Second Round tie was
no exception. It was fantastic to see them reap the rewards.
The result, the second goal from Adams and an emotional post-match presentation by the
team to a dedicated young supporter made for a truly special afternoon. But Sphinx’s focus
shifted quickly to the Third Round draw, and to a challenging league visit to Harborough
Town.

Teamsheet
Cross, Draper, Fraser, Downes, Guest, Bryson, Rawlings, Noon (Stone), Adams (MJ),
Woodward, Stewart (Stringfellow). Unused sub: Selley-Haywood

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