Coventry Sphinx FC v Coventry United FC
Midland Football League Premier Division
Date: Saturday 30th December 2017
Venue: Sphinx Drive
Well hello one and all. The life of a United fan is a little turbulent at the moment to say the least, but what a game we have today to throw into the mix. Today we make the short trip across the city to face our old landlords Coventry Sphinx in what should be a cracker of a match.
Sphinx have had an absolute fantastic start to their season and find themselves right up there with the leaders and will I’m sure be feeling it’s time they got one over United and the form they are in will surely make them favourites to do just that.
United manager Terry Anderson will hope his troops are ready and up for a battle that’s sure to attract a bumper crowd in the hope that a victory over our arch rivals will kick start the team into a long awaited winning run of games.
The referee gets the game under way and Sphinx make progress down the right from the off. The No8 Charlie Faulkner cuts into the area before seeing his low powerful drive superbly saved by the United keeper Scott Dutton but the rebound fell kindly to the Sphinx No10 Chris Sterling who duly smashed the ball into the net for the opening goal in the 1st minute.
SPHINX 1 UNITED 0
Now that’s not the start United were hoping for and already find themselves with a mini-mountain to climb. The state of the pitch after so much rain and snow was starting to cut up badly making staying on your feet bad enough let alone trying to play football. Both teams continued to at least try and the next 20 minutes only produced 2 United corners that were easily dealt with by the Sphinx defence.
Things get progressively worse for United in the 22nd minute when Sphinx’s Ryan Harkin is hauled down inside the area by Daniel Brennan and the referee points straight to the spot for a penalty. The No10 Chris Sterling stepped up to take it and sent the keeper Scott Dutton the wrong way to double his and his teams lead.
SPHINX 2 UNITED 0
Oh dear, that mini mountain has just got a whole lot bigger now. United find themselves 2 down inside 25 minutes so now have it all to do. United go looking to get back in the game and start to press with some good build up play. Their pressure finally pays off when they play in United debutant Shaquille McDonald down the middle. His impressive burst of pace takes him past two Sphinx players before he lets fly with a drive from 25yrds out. His shot takes a bit of a deflection and nestles into the corner of the net for a deserved goal to put United back into this game in the 28th minute.
SPHINX 2 UNITED 1
United needed that goal and to be fair deserved one for their perseverance. United seem to gain confidence as they continue to press Sphinx and start to create a few decent chances. A Ben Vallance cross in the 31st minute sees Shaquille McDonald direct his header at the Sphinx keeper Jake Allington for an easy gather. Then Shaquille shot just wide of the post from outside the area after more good United approach play in the 36th minute. Another Shaquille chance is not long in coming when he heads just over the bar from another good United cross in the 39th minute. With United having the bit between their teeth more chances follow when United’s Craig Reid brings out a fine save by the keeper Jake Allington in the 40th minute.
With the first half drawing to an end, Sphinx break forward resulting with the No8 Charlie Faulkner shooting just wide of the target in the 41st minute. More bad news for United comes in the 42nd minute after the linesman calls the referee over to him and after a brief discussion proceeds to send United’s manager Terry Anderson off for something he must have said I suppose in the 42nd minute.
United manage another chance from a Lewis Rankin corner that see’s captain Chris Cox’s header well saved by the keeper Jake Allington in the 43rd minute. Soon after the referee blew up for half time.
SPHINX 2 UNITED 1
The second half gets under way with neither side making any changes at the break. United start where they left off and win a free kick that’s taken by Lewis Rankin. His floated cross picks out Shaquille McDonald and his quick fire shot brings out another good save from the Sphinx keeper Jake Allington in the 46th minute.
The first booking of the game goes to United’s Chris Cox in the 52nd minute for I think dissent. Sphinx soon after increase their lead once again when they win a corner in the 54th minute that’s taken by the No8 Charlie Faulkner. His perfectly floated cross finds the head of the No5 Michael Quirke and his looping header from the far post drops into the back of the net for another goal for Sphinx.
SPHINX 3 UNITED 1
Well it just goes to show that you have to take your chances when they come as the Sphinx have had 3 shots on target so far and have scored with all of them. Sphinx decide to make a change in the 61st minute when they take off the No11 Aaron Donaldson and send on the No16 Daniel Bowes.
With the pitch cutting up badly both teams are struggling to stay on their feet. United though manage to pull themselves back into the game when they break down the left in the 63rd minute. Shaquille McDonald does well to get into the area before squaring the ball across to the free Lewis Rankin who makes no mistake before smashing the ball into the net for a well worked goal.
SPHINX 3 UNITED 2
United are now back in the hunt again and decide to make a change before the game restarts when they take off Tommy Glasscoe and send on Bobby Moseley.
This game is end to end and Sphinx are looking to regain a two goal lead for the third time and get their wish in the 65th minute. They win a free kick out wide on the right that’s taken by Charlie Faulkner. His cross picks out Jamie Towers who in turn directs his downward header past the keeper Scott Dutton.
SPHINX 4 UNITED 2
Well that’s another set piece that United have failed to defend properly. The points are sure heading towards the Sphinx the way it’s looking. Another booking soon follows for Sphinx’s Charlie Faulkner for his challenge on United’s Gift Mussa in the 68th minute.
One thing about United is, they never give up till the final whistle and their perseverance pays off in the 70th minute when they press forward with bobby Moseley. Moseley’s cross finds the impressive Shaquille McDonald and he manages to turn the ball in from close range to close the gap once again.
SPHINX 4 UNITED 3
Surely not, are united going to pull off another great comeback? United decide to make another change in the 71st minute when they take off Aron Wint and send on Aaron Opoku. The next minute in the 72nd sees United’s Gift Mussa get himself booked for his challenge and 3 minutes later they make another change when they take off Chris Cox and send on Adam Shaw in the 75th minute.
The game is now into the last 10 minutes and another booking is issued by the referee to Sphinx’s Daniel Bowes for what I’m not sure in the 85th minute. Then in the 87th minute the Sphinx’s Charlie Faulkner is booked for the second time and is subsequently shown the red card. Sphinx decide to make a change soon after when they take off Chris Sterling and send on Rhys Deehan in the 88th minute as they fight to hold on to their slender lead. With the game now into added time, Sphinx just have time to make a final change when they take off Ryan Harkin and send on Nathan McGarrity before shortly after the referee blows up for full time and the points and bragging rights go to the Sphinx.
SPHINX 4 UNITED 3
In summing up this game I would have to say TAKE YOUR CHANCES WHEN THEY COME. This was a cracking game for any neutral today that has everything in it including goals, a penalty, bookings, sending’s off and much more.
Sphinx had a great start taking the lead in the first minute and then winning a penalty 20 minutes later to double their lead. United managed to pull one back though before half time after missing a host of good chances earlier.
The second half saw sphinx regain their two goal advantage before united reduced that deficit once again. That was pretty much the pattern for this game as it ebbed and flowed in either direction in a mud bath of a game. Sphinx then made it 4-2 before United pulled it back to 4-3 with 20 minutes to go. Sphinx though managed to hold out to claim the 3pts along with the bragging rights that I’m sure will be used to good effect. Lol.
During the course of the game United created a few more chances and had a little more of the possession than Sphinx, but I do not want to take anything away from Sphinx’s victory as its goals that win games not possession and Sphinx had four shots on target today and scored with all of them so fair play and good luck for the rest of the season.
Players worthy of a mention today would have to be the Sphinx keeper Jake Allington for making a string of good saves to guide his team to the 3pts. Charlie Faulkner also had a great game until his sending off late in the second half.
For United although we lost, they played reasonably well for most parts. Some sloppy defending at set pieces was our undoing along with a handful of missed chances though. Craig Reid battled hard all day and was always trying to set his team on the offensive with a telling pass. Lewis Rankin also caused Sphinx problems all day with some good running with the ball and also chipped in with a goal. Ben Vallance also continued to impress since being brought back into the team. Shaquille McDonald had a fantastic debut for his new club and showed some great promise for the rest of the season. He also chipped in with two goals and an assist and just misses out on my man of the match award that goes to Gift Mussa. Gift today was once again a giant in the middle of the park. He was up against some top players in there today and didn’t look out of place. He battled hard and fought for every ball so very well played Gift Mussa.
Match stats United Sphinx
On target (7) (4)
Off target (4) (4)
Corners (4) (4)
Free Kicks (17) (11)
Yellow cards (2) (3)
Red cards (1) (1)
Offside (2) (3)