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Match Report: Sphinx rediscover form to win seven goal thriller

By Sharon Taylor

MFL Premier Division

Saturday 6th April - Sphinx Drive
22’ (Quorn) Hart
26’ Ryan Harkin (Coventry Sphinx)
50’ Callum Woodward (Coventry Sphinx)
55’ (Quorn) Hart
77’ Callum Woodward (Coventry Sphinx)
90’ Alex Pearson (Coventry Sphinx)
90+3’ (Quorn) Tonge
Coventry Sphinx ended their run without a win in some style with a good team performance rewarded with three points. The 3G pitch certainly suited Coventry Sphinx’s playing style and a good performance from the Quorn keeper stopped them scoring more than they did. Quorn had their chances too and Hart could have added to his two goals with a superbly saved penalty and a strike off the post stopping him claiming a hat-trick.
Sphinx rapidly recovered from going a goal down to turn the match around. Quorn soon levelled it back up but Sphinx responded with two more goals before Quorn got one back deep into injury time. Sphinx were well worth their win which lifted them to 7th place in the MFL Premier Division.
Notable absentees from today’s squad were Michael Quirke and Matt Gardner. Quirke was replaced by Liam Kay and Charlie Faulkner made his return to the Sphinx side in place of Gardner. It was a lively start from both sides but Sphinx were quick to show their intent with a number of shots testing the home keeper. O’Grady was very clever in finding space and he got two shots away with the second shot forcing a good low save. Grandison saw an effort blocked and that was followed by Faulkner forcing a save from the Quorn keeper. Quorn were having their moments too and it was the home side who would take the lead. A powerful swerving drive was parried by Cross in the Sphinx goal but Hart was quickest to react and tuck away the rebound. Sphinx had been playing well and they were deservedly back on level terms within minutes. Sphinx created some pressure on the Quorn penalty area and the ball eventually broke down the right for Callum Woodward to hit in a perfect cross. HARKIN made a perfectly timed run to get across the defender at the near post and steered a firm header beyond the reach of McMillan in the Quorn goal. Sphinx really started to get a grip on the game now and O’Grady went close with some neat footwork near the by-line. That ended with a smart attempt to finish at the near post but the keeper reacted well to prevent Sphinx taking the lead. The overworked McMillan then stretched out a leg to prevent Grandison scoring for Sphinx. Faulkner was next to force a save and shortly after Faulkner netted with a header but the offside flag curtailed any Sphinx celebrations. The ever dangerous Hart then went on a good solo run but that ended with a shot into the side netting.
The first significant action of the second half was the award of a penalty to Sphinx. The appeals were more hopeful than convincing but the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot for a handball offence. Captain Callum WOODWARD took the responsibility and drilled his spot kick to the keepers’ right to give Sphinx an early second half lead. The lead didn’t last long with Hart displaying neat footwork to finish calmly past Tom Cross to level it back up at 2-2. Midway through the half Quorn were awarded a penalty of their own for a handball offence. Hart stepped up and fired it with great accuracy towards the bottom left hand corner but Tom Cross had gone the right way and somehow stretched to keep the ball out. A magnificent penalty save from Cross but Quorn persisted in their attempts to find the winner. Quorn headed just wide from a chance and went even closer when a Hart drive thumped the post. Sphinx weren’t finished either and they were just as determined to win this game. A positive run from Faulkner ended just outside the box after a foul brought him to a halt. Captain Callum Woodward stepped up and his perfectly placed free kick nestled in the bottom corner despite the best efforts of Quorn keeper McMillan. Sphinx were now full of confidence and O’Grady forced a good save after some good build up play. Grandison was next to threaten goal with an excellent effort pushed over the bar. We were now approaching the 90th minute and Sphinx were patiently moving the ball around until Blythe was quick to spot some good movement from O’Grady and made a short pass into his path. O’Grady then showed some impressive vision to unlock the Quorn defence and pass the ball perfectly into the path of Alex Pearson who had made a well timed run from the left. PEARSON still had a bit to do but a clever cut back inside left him to finish with a crisp shot past a wrong footed keeper and inside the far post. It was great composure from the young man to make it two goals in two games for the Sphinx Junior system product. That should have been game over but three minutes into injury time Tonge lifted an effort over the Sphinx keeper to make it 4-3 and keep Sphinx on their toes in the final minute.
Sphinx were worthy winners and to come from a goal down and win is testament to the team spirit within the squad. That was much more like it from Sphinx and their challenge now is to finish the season strongly.
An excellent team display overall but a few players worth a mention. Liam Kay was excellent in the Sphinx defence and really showed his class today. Blythe and O’Grady complemented each other well in the Sphinx midfield and moved the ball around extremely well. Grandison looked back to his best and was unfortunate not to get on the score sheet. Ryan Harkin is on the way back from injury and is looking more like his usual self as each game passes. Callum Woodward got through a tremendous amount of work in the Sphinx midfield, scored twice and set up another. “Woody” put in a real Captains performance and takes today’s Man of the Match.
Coventry Sphinx are back in action on Friday 12th April when they travel to Boldmere St Michaels in Sutton Coldfield.

Updated 18:50 - 7 Apr 2019 by Sharon Taylor

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