Thursday 4th April - Lenton Lane, Nottingham
RESULT: Nottingham U18s 2-5 Coventry Sphinx U18s
1’ Leeson Moore (Coventry Sphinx)
45’ Leeson Moore (Coventry Sphinx)
80’ Dan Kelly (Coventry Sphinx)
84’ Alex Pearson (Coventry Sphinx)
89’ Alex Pearson (Coventry Sphinx)
Coventry Sphinx Youth were in goal scoring form once again and last night’s five goals took their 19 game league tally to an incredible 85.
The journey was grim, the weather during the match was just as grim and the location near the River Trent felt isolated but the Sphinx got on with the task at hand, won the game and took the title race into the final game of the season. Barrow Town are firm favourites with a two point lead but Sphinx can be proud of the performances of these young lads this season. The vast majority of the crowd were Sphinx supporters with every single player in the Sphinx ranks having personal support from family which was magnificent to see.
The team just about picked itself tonight with some availability issues affecting Dave Bull’s options. It’s a long trip on a Thursday night and with exam season approaching it was no surprise that some lads couldn’t make the game. The team “Bully” had out was more than capable with Leeson Moore continuing his return from injury with a start in the Sphinx defence. Right back Callum Mack was pushed forward into a midfield position again to support attacking talent such as Alex Pearson and Dan Kelly.
On Saturday, the Coventry Sphinx first team took the lead in the first minute with youth player Alex Pearson getting the goal and Sphinx youth repeated the trick with Leeson MOORE heading home a Max Howard corner after 44 seconds. The game rapidly developed into an end to end contest and either team could have got the next goal but it was Nottingham who got it after 14 minutes. The equaliser came from a right wing cross that was met with a shot against the post but Nottingham tucked away the rebound to make it 1-1. The game continued with both sides having chances but it was the Howard/Moore combination that struck again to give Sphinx the lead on the stroke of half time. Max Howard hit a deep free kick and Leeson MOORE climbed highest at the far post to head in from close range.
Sphinx were soon pegged back after the interval with Nottingham getting too much time on the ball in the penalty area and Sphinx got punished by a perfect chip over the exposed Kieran Hart. Sphinx kept on going but Nottingham were also looking for the winner so we had a game with chances for both sides. Nottingham put a number of dangerous low crosses in but had no one there to finish them off. Sphinx were playing themselves into really good areas but again the final ball was not up to their usual high standards. Ten minutes from the end, Sphinx were awarded a penalty for a push on Leeson Moore and that gave them the chance to regain the lead. A delay to the spot kick followed with the Nottingham manager insistent that the player guilty of the push was to be substituted before the penalty was taken. Dan KELLY maintained his composure and drilled in the penalty to put Sphinx back in front. The floodgates now opened with Sphinx cutting apart the hosts frequently. The fourth goal came after tremendous work from Dan Kelly got him to the by-line and he was smart enough to pick out Alex PEARSON who buried a first time shot. Just before the end, Alex Pearson struck again with a sweetly struck shot across the keeper into the bottom corner. Sphinx could have added more in injury time but five was more than enough to secure victory.
Sphinx had got off to flying start but a hardworking and dangerous looking Nottingham were level with ten minutes remaining. A penalty was the trigger for the late goals that gave Sphinx another three points and they were rewarded for their persistence in the end.
FULL TIME: NOTTINGHAM U18 2-5 COVENTRY SPHINX U18
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: HART, WHITEHOUSE, FRASER, HOWARD ©, BULL, MOORE, MACK, BILLING, KELLY, PEARSON, GORMAN
Subs: DRAPER, BOYLE.
The Coventry Sphinx Youth team have their final league game of the season next Thursday. The squad have represented the club magnificently this season and the least they deserve is a good send-off from a good crowd so make sure you’re at Sphinx Drive on Thursday 11th April when they face Leicester Road.
Updated 11:20 - 5 Apr 2019 by Sharon Taylor