Coventry Sphinx continued their fine run of form with a five goal blast against Quorn on Saturday. They came into the game with three consecutive home wins behind them and they stepped it up a gear at the weekend with a convincing win at Sphinx Drive.
They game started slowly but once Sphinx got the first goal just before half time they went on to show their goal scoring capabilities that has now lifted them to 5th place in the MFL Premier Division. A double from Ryan Harkin set them on their way and further goals were added by Jamie Towers, Charlie Faulkner and Callum Woodward.
Before the game there was a minutes silence to mark the 16th anniversary of the passing of former Coventry Sphinx manager Willie Knibbs. The current manager, Lee Knibbs, is the son of Willie Knibbs so it was an emotional start to the afternoon at Sphinx Drive.
Lee Knibbs made just one change to the side that won last weekend with Samson Maagbe making his first start for the club after impressing from the bench last Saturday. The stability of the team selection in recent weeks has clearly contributed to the recent good results and there was plenty of talent on the bench waiting for their opportunity. It was a patient start to the game from Sphinx and with Quorn looking to build their own play from the back we had few chances of note as both teams weighed each other up. On the half hour mark Sphinx keeper Jake Allingan reacted well to save an effort from Quorn and that seemed to shake Sphinx into life. Harkin was being brought into the game now and his run led to a couple of blocked efforts in the Quorn penalty area. The deadlock was eventually broken with a quality piece of football on 42 minutes and Ryan HARKIN was the man to come up with what is now a trademark finish. He had Charlie Faulkner to thank for a perfect through ball that created the chance and the same combination produced the same end result with another HARKIN goal within two minutes as Sphinx took control just before the break.
HALF TIME: COVENTRY SPHINX 2 QUORN 0
Quorn had to respond and although they had a good amount of possession in the Sphinx half they found Sphinx a difficult defensive force to break down. They were attempting to exert pressure but the Sphinx goal remained under little threat thanks to a solid defence and keeper supported superbly by a hardworking midfield. Sphinx weathered that spell of possession and were quickly showing they were in the hunt for more goals. Faulkner and Harkin were at the centre of the next excursion into the Quorn penalty box but Woodward’s first time effort was too high to trouble the Quorn keeper. That was the trigger for Sphinx to up their efforts for a third goal and Jamie TOWERS obliged on 62 minutes. A through ball from midfield picked out his run and he ran away from the defender to finish the one on one with keeper. That goal should have put the game to bed and Lee Knibbs immediately took the opportunity to give Bryan Badu his Sphinx debut. Badu replaced Maagbe who had worked hard on the left of the Sphinx midfield and he can be satisfied with his efforts on his first start for the club. Quorn hadn’t given up yet and Allingan appeared to get a slight hand to an effort from Quorn that hit the top of the bar. That little warning for Sphinx only stirred them to look for more goals and they were highly unfortunate to see a goal ruled out after the ball was adjudged to have gone out of play before the cross came in. Sphinx didn’t have to wait long to get their fourth goal however and what a goal it was. Woodward’s corner was too deep but Towers reacted quickest to retrieve the ball and fire in a waist high cross and FAULKNER showed a real strikers instinct to stoop in front of the defender and power in a header at the near post. That was Faulkner’s first goal for the club and he certainly deserved it. Harkin and Faulkner had been superb and it was time for them take a breather as Lee Knibbs introduced Aaron Donaldson and debutant Kieran Cherrie to the action. Cherrie gave us a glimpse of what he is about with his exceptional work rate forcing a free kick near the Quorn corner flag. Donaldson’s delivery from the free kick was also exceptional and although Towers initial effort was saved, WOODWARD pounced to slam in the loose ball and cap the performance with the 5th goal of the afternoon. There was still time for Cherrie to burst through down the inside right channel but his shot across the keeper went agonisingly wide of the post.
The victory was convincing in the end but Quorn made sure Sphinx had to put in the necessary work to take the points. A fourth consecutive league victory sets Sphinx up nicely for a run of away fixtures that starts next weekend with a trip to South Normanton Athletic.
COVENTRY SPHINX MAN OF THE MATCH: CHARLIE FAULKNER
Jake Allingan is improving all the time in the Sphinx goal and today he was rewarded with a well deserved clean sheet. The back four have established themselves are as unit and the combination of Lower, Stringfellow, Quirke and Guest can be equally pleased with the clean sheet. Woodward is leading the side superbly in midfield and he added another goal to his tally today. Towers is proving to be a key player too and there is clearly plenty of life in the experienced forward yet! Badu looked highly promising during his half an hour on the pitch which bodes well. Harkin is in a rich vein of form and he was a problem for Quorn frequently with his two goals demonstrating that perfectly. Charlie Faulkner was the provider for Harkin’s two goals and also got on the score sheet himself with a bullet header. Faulkner worked extremely hard for the cause too and today he is my Man of the Match.
COVENTRY SPHINX TEAM: ALLINGAN, LOWER (c), STRINGFELLOW, CAIRNS, QUIRKE, GUEST, TOWERS, WOODWARD, HARKIN (Cherrie 80 mins), FAULKNER (Donaldson 80 mins), MAAGBE (Badu 63 mins). Unused Substitutes: Gabe Barnwell, Jack Rooney