17th October 2009
McSheffrey iyse a winning run in the league .....
by Randy Forder at Sphinx Drive. Photos below by Mick Evans.
Coventry Sphinx 3 v 2 Rocester
With Jerome Murdock going onto pastures new with Bedworth United manager Danny McSheffrey pulled a masterstroke by including former Sky Blues and Mansfield favourite Iyseden Christie in the starting line up. There were also a full debut for last year’s Youth Team Captain Andy Wilson-King as replacement for the suspended Craig Goodbody and Adrian Fisher came in for the Kyle Rhodes who was struck down by a bout of ‘flu.
Chances were few and far between in the opening fifteen minutes and it was not until Jamie McAteer, who pulled up with a tight hamstring, was replaced by Joao Jardim that the game’s first chance came along. A scuffed cross from the right deceived Carl O'Neill in the Sphinx goal and cannoned off the cross bar into the path of Hewitt who side-footed the ball past the despairing O'Neill.
Sphinx could have been further behind when the impressive Hodson hit a stunning strike from 25 yards which crashed off the bar and away to safety.
Despite all the pressure being on the home goal Sphinx managed to level, and with probably the finest collective goal of the season to date. Christie, Manak and Docherty combined with some lovely one-touch football and over-lapping play creating the space for the latter to produce a fine cross from the left which picked out an unmarked Michael Martin to calmly head his first goal for the club.
Christie was causing all sorts of problems with his intelligent runs in the channels and instinctive ability to generate the time and space to play, and it was he who went close on two occasions with shots just missing the target.
The second half began with Sphinx on the attack and on 55 minutes Christie used his experience and strength to punish the Rocester defence with a right foot shot past the ‘keeper to put Sphinx 2-1 up.
Sphinx were now controlling the game with Wilson-King having a great debut at the heart of the defence ably assisted by Jardim. Manak and Fisher were controlling the midfield with Christie and Martin, a pair with no previous time together on a pitch, looking like they had been in partnership for months. Jimmy Haltom was replaced by Aaron Donaldson on 70 minutes who was soon in the thick of things having a trademark fine run at the Rocester defence but overhitting the cross when the opportunity came to deliver.
Having soaked up the pressure Rocester were back on level terms in the 78th minute when Wilson-King was, it seemed at the time, harshly judged to have handled the ball in the area when it ricocheted onto his arm from a clearance. Rocester were not complaining and Salmon hit a hard shot to O'Neill's left and even though he got a hand to it he could not deflect it past the post.
Soon after Fisher went close for Sphinx with a curling free kick from the edge of the area which Froggatt did well to push away for a corner. McSheffrey still had one ace up his sleeve when he decided to replace Michael Martin with Kelvin Phillips and go for a more attacking 4-3-3 formation. This was to pay immediate dividends as in the 86th minute a near post corner from Manak was headed in by Phillips to maintain the Sphinx unbeaten home record in the league this season.
Having seen their F.A. Cup dream ended seven days previously the week proved to be one where the character of the squad came to the fore, with a maximum six points being taken to bolster the league standings. A less determined bunch of players may well have allowed themselves the indulgence of a Cup hangover. With the run of home games now settled, the squad must now show their determination on the road with the challenges presented by a series of tough away games.
Sphinx: C. O'Neill, T. Muldoon, D. Doherty, A. Fisher, J. McAteer, A. Wilson-King, R. Manak, J. Halton, M. Martin, I. Christie, J. Ruff. subs: T. Haywood, A. Donaldson, C. Wilson-King, J. Jardim, K. Phillips.
Rocester: R. Froggatt, M. Walker, J. Butler, K. Meakin-Richards, D. Bullock, C. McComisky, A. Hewitt, M. Hodson, T. Salmon, S. Salmon, D. Watkiss. subs: A. Johnson, A. Sheridan, A. Justin, C. McGinley, M. Redshaw.
photos copyright and courtesy of Mick Evans @ KORU Digital
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