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Sphinx (A) 18/19

Teams

Well hello one and all. After the Monday night 3-1 defeat to Ilkeston Town, United were left with a free weekend but with it being a bank holiday, we today have a potential cracking derby day fixture against our near neighbours Coventry Sphinx at Sphinx Drive.

Sphinx have had a great start to their campaign with 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss to date. They have played some of the fancied teams too and managed to get results so this is as always going to be one hell of a tough game.

Local bragging rights are at stake here on top of the available 3pts and United’s manager Terry Anderson is going to have his work cut out to get something out of this game with the added problem of striker Shaquille McDonald being suspended for this game. With United though currently playing some decent football, they will need to start converting a few more of their chances if they are to start killing off teams when they are on top.

The referee gets the game under way and look to get an early grip on the game. It’s Sphinx who get themselves into a good position first when they win a free kick on the edge of the area along the touch line. Thankfully United’s Jamal Clarke is on hand to head the cross out for a corner that is easily dealt with in the 6thminute. Sphinx continue to make all the early running when they win another free kick in a dangerous position just centrally outside the area. It’s taken by United old boy Joshua O’Grady. His goal bound shot is superbly tipped onto the bar by the United keeper Brendan Bunn and out for corner that came to nothing in the 9thminute.

United try to counter the Sphinx threat with some pressure of their own and see a Jake Holt free kick blast into the wall in the 12thminute and a weak Scott Hammond effort easily gathered by the keeper Tom Cross in the 17thminute.

15 minutes pass until the next chance comes along and it falls to the Sphinx in the 33rdminute. From a long throw in the loose ball falls to the Sphinx No11 Charlie Faulkner who shapes up for the spectacular overhead kick but gladly it drops just wide of the target.

The first booking of the game goes to Sphinx’s  No3 Lewis Hudson for a foul on United’s Kyle Carey in the 35thminute.

With half time fast approaching, the deadlock is finally broken when Sphinx win the ball off United in midfield before breaking forward with pace with the No9 Chris Sterling in the 43rdminute. He lays the ball across the six yard box where the No7 Leigh Phillips is on hand to tap the ball in for the opening goal of the game.

SPHINX 1 UNITED 0

With the game being pretty much even between the two teams, this goal feels like a little kick in the teeth but things soon after see United finding themselves two goals down after United failed to clear their lines after another Sphinx attack in the 45thminute. United’s Robert Prinzel made a rash tackle on the Sphinx No11 Charlie Faulkner and the referee had no option but to book Prinzel and award Sphinx a penalty. The No8 Callum Woodward stepped up to take it and made no mistake to put his side 2-0 on the stroke of half time.

SPHINX 2 UNITED 0

Well that mountain has now got a lot bigger to climb as soon after the referee blew up for half time.

Half Time

SPHINX 2 UNITED 0

Second Half

The second half gets under way with neither side making any half time changes. Though soon after Sphinx are forced into making a change in the 47thminute when the No11 Charlie Faulkner has to go off injured and the No17 Rhys Deehan replaces him.

Sphinx carry on where they left off and are soon pressing United again in the 52ndminute. From a free kick on the edge of the area, the No10 Joshua O’Grady curls his shot just wide of the target. United rally and push Sphinx back with some attacking play of their own. They win a free kick from just outside the area 25yrds out but Jake Holt’s effort goes wide of the target in the 55thminute. United continue to force the issue and see a Curvin Ellis  low drive easily gathered by the Sphinx keeper Tom Cross in the 58thminute.

Soon after United make their first change of the afternoon when they take off Jake Holt and send on Kevin Thornton in the 61stminute. Then in the next minute the 62nd, United’s Gift Mussa is booked for a tackle on Sphinx’s Lewis Hudson.

More changes follow for United when they take off Scott Hammond and send on Ryan Palmer in the 68thminute and then take off Ronee Hendricks before sending on Frankie Baignet in the 72ndminute. Then Sphinx make a change in the 73rdminute when they take off the No7 Leigh Phillips and send on the No15 Jamie Towers.

United are trying to get themselves back in the game but are finding it hard to break through a stern and well organized Sphinx defence. United’s Kevin Thornton works the ball forward well before squaring the ball across the area to Ryan Palmer but his shot is easily gathered by the keeper Tom Cross in the 76thminute.

Sphinx step up the pace and go looking for the killer goal. They break forward in the 77thminute before United’s Jamal Clarke fells Sphinx’s Joshua O’Grady on the edge of the box and concedes a free kick and picks up a yellow card for his troubles. The resulting free kick is taken by the impressive Callum Woodward and he beautifully curls the ball past the hapless United keeper Brendan Bunn to score a great goal to surely seal the points for the Sphinx.

SPHINX 3 UNITED 0

Well that should now be enough for the Sphinx as the game is nearing the last 10 minutes. During the restart of the game, United’s Kevin Thornton was booked for dissent in the 78thminute. The Sphinx also make a change in the 78thminute when they take off the No9 Chris Sterling and send on the No14 Ryan Harkin.

The game is now into the last 5 minutes and United press forward with Kevin Thornton, he does well and he finds Kyle Carey who in turn lays it to Ryan Palmer who is free at the far post to bundle the ball over the line for a consolation goal for United in the 87thminute.

SPHINX 3 UNITED 1

That goal gives United a very slim hope of getting back into the game but that wish is short lived as Sphinx pounce as they steal the ball off United and see Ryan Harkin power through on goal before coolly slotting the ball past United’s keeper Brendan Bunn for a fine goal and securing the points for his team in the 89thminute.

SPHINX 4 UNITED 1

The game resumes but not for long as the referee blows up for full time and its 3pts and the bragging rights to the Sphinx.

Full Time

SPHINX 4 UNITED 1

In summing up this game I would have to say WE WERE BEATEN BY THE BETTER TEAM ON THE DAY. The first half saw both teams look to get a grip of the game and pretty much cancelled each other out until the last 5 minutes of the half when the Sphinx made a double breakthrough to take a two goal lead going into the break.

The second half saw the Sphinx control the game a little bit more and seemed to knock the ball around with more purpose and conviction than United. Their dominance paid off when they went further ahead before in the closing minutes United pulled a goal back before Sphinx soon after restored their three goal advantage in the last minute of the game to seal a deserved 3pts.

United’s downfall in my opinion today was their inability to keep hold of the ball for long periods. Their passing was not to the usual standard they have set themselves and were as I’ve said beaten by the better team on the day and they can have no complaints about that.

Players worthy of a mention today would have to be the very impressive Callum Woodward. He was immense today for the Sphinx, getting stuck in throughout the game and also showed his attacking prowess with a couple of finely taken set pieces to claim a great brace.

For United it was not to be their day, they tried their best but today it was just not enough. For me though my man of the match goes to Gift Mussa for his steely efforts in what turned out to be a very difficult game for United so well played Gift Mussa.

Match Stats           United     Sphinx

On target                   (5)             (6)

Off target                  (4)              (2)

Corners                     (2)              (7)

Free kicks                 (19)            (15)

Yellow cards            (4)               (1)

Red cards                 (0)               (0)

Offsides                    (0)               (1)