Coventry's Premier Non-League Football Club


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26th September 2009

Sphinx draw in F.A. Cup

by Randy Forder at Sphinx Drive. Photos below by Mick Evans.


Coventry Sphinx 2  v  2 Stafford Rangers


On a very warm sunny day at Sphinx Drive Coventry Sphinx entertained Stafford Rangers of the Blue Square Conference North in the second qualifying round of the F.A. Cup.

Stafford Rangers started the better of the two teams and could have been in the lead inside five minutes after Mills found himself free in the box but a great reflex save from O'Neill in the Sphinx goal diverted the ball away from danger.

Sphinx struggled to get their passing game together but were causing the Stafford defence problems with balls in the channels and twice Murdock nearly breached the Stafford defence but covering tackles prevented him from getting a shot off or telling pass out from under his feet.

Stafford continued with their long ball tactics, looking for Wellecomme to be the outlet, but Terry Ward, Liam Kay, Jamie McAteer and Craig Goodbody stood firm and any headers that Stafford won never threatened the Sphinx goal.

On 28 minutes Sphinx made the breakthrough, a long ball out of defence found Murdock between the full back and centre half, a quick turn of foot and a right foot shot beat Lumley the 6' 5" keeper in the Stafford goal. Murdock's celebration has become a familiar sight in this cup run but on the hard surface must have done some damage to his knees.


Two minutes later Sphinx found themselves down to ten men. Goodbody slid in to hook the ball up the line at the same time as a Stafford player came from out of his field of vision to himself try and prevent a throw in. Goodbody caught the player as he tried to hook the ball away. It looked worse than what it was and maybe a yellow would of been enough instead of a straight red. The linesman just yards away offered no opinion to assist in the decision made from some 30 yards behind play.

On 34 minutes Sphinx increased their lead. A mix up between Vauls and Lumley culminated with Lumley taking out Vauls and firing the ball against Phillips who followed his rebound into the net. Vauls was knocked unconscious momentarily and needed support to make his way to the dressing rooms. He then felt worse and a touch of confusion and disorientation set in requiring an ambulance to be called at half time.

Phillips was then substituted in tactical decision with Jimmy Holmes coming on to make up a back 4. It was tough on the big striker whose presence was proving to be the perfect compliment to Murdock's trickery but shoring up the back line was the clear priority.

The second half started with Stafford straight out of the blocks and putting the pressure on the Sphinx defence and it was not long before they pulled a goal back.The very impressive Kasiama made his way towards the Sphinx goal and threaded the ball through to Mills who was upended in the box and Thornley confidently put the penalty away on 50 minutes.


Stafford had their tails up and were making the extra man tell, Sphinx were now  struggling to get the ball to stick up front and on 60 minutes Stafford were level. Another good move down the left and a strong low cross resulted with the ball being deflected into the Sphinx goal off a Sphinx defender even though Mills claimed the goal.

From here on in you would have thought that Stafford would have put Sphinx to the sword but they did not take into the account the determination, guts and team spirit that is within the Sphinx camp this season. Time and again the defence stood firm and did not allow any real threats on goal with Terry Ward and Liam Kay outstanding at the heart of it. Sphinx reverted to a 4-3-2 formation and started to get a little bit more joy up front with Donaldson pushing on to join Murdock in a front two.


Muldoon replaced the seventeen year old Josh Ruff and he was soon in the thick of the action. A great run down the right and a cross into the box towards Donaldson was delivered. It took a bobble and reared up slightly so he had to wait for the ball to come down before getting a shot off which enabled the covering player to make a last ditch challenge to divert the ball over.

In the 85th minute Murdock turned the Stafford defence inside out and had a chance to get a shot off but decided to cut inside to get a better angle and was soon closed down in the process. Stafford were to have the last say in this enthralling game when a short clearance out of the Sphinx defence fell to Wellecomme whose 25 yard half volley just went over O'Neills upright.

Sphinx can be mighty proud of themselves, they dug in and showed resilience and after surrendering a two goal lead many teams would have rolled over but this group of players. They have commitment, team spirit and a never say die attitude in abundance. All this and more against a team from three leagues higher and with ten men for 60 minutes.


Liam Kay was named the Windsor Garage Man of the Match and was presented with his award by Nigel & Sue Salmon of windsor Garage after the match.


The replay is scheduled for Tuesday night.


Sphinx: C. O'Neil, C. Goodbody, J. McAteer, K. Rhodes, T. Ward, L. Kay, A. Donaldson, R. Manak, K. Phillips, J. Murdock, J. Ruff. subs: J. Holmes, C. Daffern, M. Martin, G. Mead, M. Smith.


Stafford: W. Lumley, E. Vdoji, R. Vauls, A. Owens, B. Wilson, J. Johnson, F. Kasiama, T. Thorley, B. Mills, N. Wellecomme, J. Moult. subs: L. Morgan, J. Patrick, J. Rogers, C. Brindley, T. Harrison.


Attendance: 312

In the Press:

Coventry Sphinx 2 Stafford Rangers 2

by Derek Brown, www.coventrytelegraph.net

BRAVE Sphinx were most unfortunate not to have caused one of the shocks of the FA Cup as lucky Stafford salvaged a draw.

Danny McSheffrey’s charges were on course for an unexpected victory when Jerome Murdock rifled them in front and though Craig Goodbody was controversially red carded soon after, Calvin Phillips doubled the ten-men’s advantage almost immediately.

But Rangers rallied afterwards, to earn themselves a second bite of the £4,500 cherry at Marston Road tomorrow night.

McSheffrey said: “It’s disappointing to lose a two-goal advantage but we would have been pleased with a draw beforehand although Craig’s dismissal was a blow and obviously forced us on the back foot. But they are not unbeatable and we go into the replay quietly confident.

“I felt the lads did the club proud and were not overawed.”

Rangers started brightly with Nick Wellcomme’s angled drive superbly pushed aside by keeper Carl O’Neill while at the opposite end Josh Ruff’s header grazed the far upright. But on 29 minutes Stafford were stung when the lively Murdock lashed a fierce low 15-yarder inside the near post.

Minutes later Goodbody was harshly sent off for an over-zealous challenge on Ben Mills yet Sphinx, for whom Liam Kay was outstanding in defence, reacted superbly by doubling their advantage within 30 seconds. A long punt forward caused Emmanuel Vogli and keeper Will Lumley to collide, under pressure from Phillips, who chested the loose ball over the line.

The interval brought Stafford alive and on 51 minutes they were gifted a penalty when Wellcomme cut into the box where he was upended by James Holmes and Tom Thorley drilled in the resulting spot kick. And there was more woe just before the hour as the Blue Square North side levelled with home skipper Terry Ward diverting Mills’ right-wing cross into his own net.


Rangers scrape cup draw against minnows Coventry


FRUSTRATED Rangers boss Chris Brindley will be hoping for plenty more effort from his players after seeing his side held by FA Cup minnows Coventry Sphinx.

And it looked even worse at one stage after the Midland Alliance outfit punished some shoddy Stafford defending to open up a two-goal lead.

"I'm hugely disappointed and, to be honest, we're lucky to still be in it," Brindley, pictured, admitted.

"We were a shambles first half, but were never at the races throughout. That's the worst performance of the season.

"We need to go and play 100 times better now to get through."

The visitors started well enough with Sphinx keeper Carl O'Neil saving well from Ben Mills before Nick Wellecomme put two efforts over the crossbar.

But it was the home side who opened the scoring on 28 minutes when a long clearance from the Sphinx keeper was picked up by danger man Jerome Murdoch and the striker placed his shot past Bill Lumley in the Stafford goal.

There was a second for the home side before half-time when a Richard Vauls clearance cannoned off Sphinx's Kelvin Phillips and into the Rangers net.

The home side were reduced to 10 men moments before their second, Craig Goodbody seeing red for his challenge on Mills.

And with an extra man, Stafford slowly edged their way back into contention.

Tom Thorley struck from the penalty spot on 50 minutes after Wellecomme had been upended and Jamie McAteer diverted a Mills cross into his own net for the equaliser five minutes later.

Injury-time almost saw Stafford snatch an unlikely victory, but Jake Moult failed to find the target, firing over the Sphinx woodwork after latching onto a clearance.

























photos copyright and courtesy of Mick Evans @ KORU Digital