Tuesday 28th March 2023
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
COVENTRY SPHINX v COGENHOE UNITED
Sphinx Industrial Supplies Stadium,
KO 7-45 pm.
The Cooks face a tough trip to Coventry on Tuesday night to face a team with their eyes firmly set on lifting the title in eight games time. It looked like Rugby Town were set to run away with the championship trophy at one point as their points lead went well into double figures, but Sphinx have kept plugging away and winning both home and away waiting for a slip up which has now come along, with The Valley dropping ten points from their last potential fifteen. During that spell the Coventry side have won all five league games with the latter seeing them come from behind to beat a good Histon team 2-1 at home on Saturday with recent signing Kyle Carey and the prolific Callum Stewart on target in the second half. Stewart’s goal was his 32nd of the season, but Matty Shipman isn’t too far behind having netted 24 of his own. They are unbeaten in eight in the league, the only slip coming at home to Coventry City in the Birmingham Senior Cup with the EFL youngsters going through on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
All this means that top spot come the end of April is very much in their own control and a win tomorrow night would lift them a point above Rugby on level games, whilst the Cooks would overtake Easington should they win, but 11th spot is realistically the best we are likely to achieve this season as the next three teams are all nine points ahead of us we head into the run in.
Last season’s trip, the Cooks first visit to Sphinx Drive, was also on a Tuesday night and with a number of players unavailable for the trip, 17 year-old Ben Westwood played his first (and only) game in goal for the Cooks and ended up picking the ball out of his net on five separate occasions. Loz Rawlings (37) and Callum Stewart (45) broke down the Cooks defence before the break, then Stewart went on to complete his hat-trick after 68 and 71 before Matty Shipman rounded of a 5-0 win three minutes from the end. Unfortunately I had to miss that game through illness, but I have been to Sphinx Drive a number of times over the years and always enjoyed my visits. The first time I went there the ground was rather different and a crowd of over 300 watched them play local rivals Massey Ferguson with both teams fighting for the Coventry Alliance Premier Division title on a Thursday night in April. I don’t remember the score that night, but both teams were promoted to the old Midland Combination in the summer and since then it has been a much happier time for Sphinx as their opponents suffered from the closure of their tractor factory and subsequently folded a few years later.
We have played each other at Compton Park earlier this season and the visitors nicked it 4-3 in an incredible game of football. Two late first half goals had given the Cooks a wind-assisted 2-0 half time lead, but after Sphinx had pegged us back to 2-2, Will Bates scored a 25-yard screamer to put us back in front, but you simply can’t write off this Sphinx team, backed by their excellent support that afternoon. Bates put us in front on 36 minutes and Jessi Obeng grabbed a vital second on 41. Dylan Parker pulled one back on 55 then Shipman levelled things up on 61, but three minutes Bates stepped up with that goal and it was advantage Cogenhoe once more. We needed to hold onto that lead for a while in all honesty, but Shipman struck again on 67, but it looked like me might still hold on for a point until Louis Guest fired home the winning goal three minutes from the end.