Sphinx (League Cup)
Coventry Sphinx FC v Coventry United FC
Total Motion League Cup 3rdRound
Date: Tuesday 4thDecember 2018
Venue: Sphinx Drive
Well hello one and all. After that fantastic 4-0 victory over Hinckley AFC in the FA Vase Cup at the weekend, United tonight turn their attentions to the league cup with a 3rdround tie away to local rivals Coventry Sphinx.
After the Sphinx comprehensively beat United 4-1 in a league fixture back in August, United tonight have the chance to make amends but that is going to be a tough ask with the Sphinx having a great season so far riding high in the top four.
United are of late starting to convert a bigger percentage of their chances created and they will have to continue in that vein of form if they are to defeat an on fire Sphinx side. Manager Terry Anderson will hope to have a full strength side to pick from as he plots to extend his teams winning run to three on the trot.
The referee gets the game under way and both teams look fired up for this game. The opening minutes are quite frantic with both teams losing possession with ease as they close each other down with great vigour.
The first real talking point comes in the 10thminute when United press forward as Shaquille McDonald races clear into the area before being closed down and McDonald ending up in a heap on the floor inside the area but the referee waved play on. United then win a corner in the 14thminute that’s taken by Arum Soleman and the loose ball fired back in by Luke Downes but sadly goes well wide of the target.
With the game being so scrappy and intense, it was obvious that a booking or two would soon be on the cards. Not long after the first one came and it went to United’s Kyle Barnett for dissent in the 16thminute.
Sphinx had their first decent chance in the 18thminute from a Joshua O’Grady free kick that saw the United keeper Bradley Casswell punch the ball clear. Then two minutes later in the 20th, Sphinx pick up their first booking when the No8 Callum Woodward fells United’s Arum Soleman with what looked like a late challenge.
Another half chance falls for the Sphinx when they win a corner and the No5 Michael Quirke sends his header wide of the target in the 24thminute.
The next 10 minutes sees United force a number of corners but fail to take any advantage from any of them. The last chance of the half falls to United when they break and Curvin Ellis did well to find space before sending his shot straight at the keeper Tom Cross in the 40thminute. Soon after the referee blew up for half time and the deadlock still intact.
SPHINX 0 UNITED 0
The second half gets under way with neither side making any changes during the break. United come out showing some early intent with a Jake Holt free kick being gathered by the keeper Tom Cross with ease in the 46thminute and then Arum Soleman turned and shot just wide of the target from a throw in in the 47thminute.
The 52ndminute sees the Sphinx make a double change when they take off the No10 Joshua O’Grady and the No7 Sam Jackson and send on the No12 Ryan Harkin and No14 Liam Cairns.
With chances proving rather rare in this game so far, Sphinx break with Ryan Harkin in the 54thminute before he plays into the path of the No9 Joel Grandison who in turn sends his shot into the arms of the keeper Bradley Casswell. Soon after United’s Gift Mussa is booked for a challenge in the 55thminute and will now have to be careful for the remainder of the game. Another booking isn’t far behind when the Sphinx No4 Jackson Downie is booked for felling Gift Mussa in the 60thminute. With plenty of bite in the game as both teams try to make a breakthrough, more bookings follow after a bit of a fracas in the 66thminute where the Sphinx No9 Joel Grandison and United’s Curvin Ellis get booked for their part in the melee.
The game resumes and in the 70thminute United make a change when they take off Curvin Ellis and send on Joseph Cairns. United are having a little more of the possession in the second half but are failing to make it count. They break free in the 73rdminute with first Shaquille McDonald shooting goal wards but the keeper Tom Cross saving well with his legs before Joe Cairns blasts the loose ball wide of the target.
United soon after make another change when they take off Arum Soleman and send on debutant Chris Dusare in the 77thminute. United are continuing to probe but once again a shot from Joe Cairns goes well wide of the target in the 84thminute.
The game is looking like it’s going to be going to penalties but the Sphinx have one last chance to steal the tie but the No9 Joel Grandison shoots at the keeper Bradley Casswell from 18yrds for an easy gather before the referee blows up for full time and penalties it is.
SPHINX 0 UNITED 0
Ryan Harkin scored Joseph Cairns missed
Charlie Faulkner scored Jake Holt scored
Jackson Downie missed Kyle Barnett scored
Michael Quirke scored Shaquille McDonald scored
Callum Woodward scored Jamal Clarke missed
Sphinx win 4-3 on penalties
In summing up this game I would have to say THIS WAS NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED. This game was by no means a classic game of football, but what it had in commitment and passion made this game a thrilling watch all the same.
Sphinx started to game on fire and got straight at United chasing the ball down vigorously giving United no time on the ball. As United settled into the game they started to match Sphinx and finished the first half strongly.
Clear cut chances were a rare commodity tonight but the will to fight for the ball was there for all to see from both sides. Tough tackling, great defending by both teams were on show in abundance tonight and not forgetting the highly competitive duels going on in the midfield that occasionally spilled over.
On reflection I would have to say that a draw was a fair result on the night but with this being a cup fixture, penalties were required and it was Sphinx who held their nerve to carve out a 4-3 victory that sends them into the next round.
Players worthy of a mention would have to be the Sphinx captain Callum Woodward. He was a key figure in the Sphinx midfield all game and his fiery temperament and passion to win the ball was definitely noted by the healthy watching crowd so well played Callum Woodward.
For United they all battled hard for each other against an in form top four Sphinx side. Once Again Jamal Clarke and Kyle Barnett looked really strong and assured in the centre of defence. Luke Downes and Jake Holt worked hard in midfield against some stiff opposition but for me tonight’s man of the match goes to Ben Vallance. Ben tonight was awesome, he had plenty to do defensively but he excelled when going forward and did so on many occasions with his direct penetrating runs that set his team on the attack so well played Ben Vallance.
Match stats United Sphinx
On target (3) (4)
Off target (5) (2)
Corners (7) (4)
Free kicks (14) (14)
Yellow cards (3) (2)
Red cards (0) (0)
Offside (0) (2)