Shepshed Dynamo were the first visitors to Sphinx Drive for a league match this season and they went away with the points after a perfect smash and grab raid. Sphinx ended the game with nine men after two red cards in the second half and a great strike from Shepshed’s Alex Troke was worthy of winning the game.
Another healthy crowd was at Sphinx Drive on Wednesday and Shepshed had started the season in good form. Sphinx had previously secured a good away point at Haughmond so it was a difficult game to call. Sphinx made a lively start with Harkin the first to get a shot away although it was wide of the target. Chances were at a premium and Downes had a decent opportunity mid way through the first half but his effort was too high to trouble the goal. The Shepshed keeper was eventually called into action by Harkin after a Downes through ball had put him in on goal. Harkin was the only real threat for Sphinx and his persistence was rewarded in the 37th minute when he nicked it off a defender to go on and force another save from the visiting keeper. Shepshed were value for their clean sheet so far and Sphinx were having to work hard to create any opportunities. On the positive side, Sphinx were looking solid at the back and didn’t look in any real danger of conceding.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 SHEPSHED DYNAMO 0
Sphinx created another half chance with Downes driving just wide from 18 yards but Shepshed stunned the home crowd with a moment of real quality. Alex Troke received the ball with his back to goal but an agile turn and instant strike saw the ball hit the back of the net to give them the lead just before the hour. Less than a minute later Matty Burt saw Red for what the referee deemed a bad tackle near the half way line. It got worse for Sphinx with Luke Downes getting his marching orders on 71 minutes for a tackle but Sphinx were thrown a lifeline on 77 minutes when they got a penalty. There appeared to be a dispute over who was to take the penalty but Curvin Ellis insisted he was taking it and went on to launch his effort well clear of the bar. That was the big chance Sphinx had needed and they had squandered it. There was little they could do to get back in the game with nine men and they went on to lose by just the one goal on a disappointing evening at Sphinx Drive.
FULL TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 0 SHEPSHED DYNAMO 1
COVENTRY SPHINX MAN OF THE MATCH: AARON STRINGFELLOW
A below par performance from Sphinx but Aaron Stringfellow was a bright light at left back. Steady and assured in possession and read the game well defensively.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: DUTTON, LOWER (Mullarkey 74 mins), STRINGFELLOW, CAIRNS, QUIRKE, BURT, DOWNES, WOODWARD, HARKIN (Guest 74 mins), TOMKINSON (Ellis 66 mins), DEEHAN. Unused Subs: McGarrity, Hill