Coventry's Premier Non-League Football Club


Proud to be an F.A. Charter Standard Club

18th March 2013

Gutted But Proud

by Kev Monks




Coventry Sphinx gave everything they had but it was not enough to concede a last minute penalty and lose to Northern Premier League Premier Division side Hednesford Town in the Semi-Final of the Birmingham Senior Cup. Sphinx will come out of the game with there heads held high as they ran there higher league opposition to the final minute

 Sphinx had beaten Highgate United (5-4), won 3-0 at Solihull Moors and beaten Banbury United 5-1 to reach the Semi-Final and take on a side, which had scored fifteen goals in their three games in the competition so there was always going to be goals.

Hednesford cam out firing on all cylinders and had a great opportunity to open the scoring on 3 minutes but could only head over from a corner when it seemed easier to score. Michael Woolfe who was a late edition to the visiting team was a handful all night and his deflected shot struck the bar in the ninth minute before forcing O’Neill into a great save a minute later.

Sphinx started to settle in the game and defence splitting pass gave Cutting the chance to shoot early but his shot went past the post with Harvey beaten by the early shot. Liam Mcnally then showed some close control before flighting a ball over the Hednesford defence to Jackson who fired over without troubling the keeper


O’Neill made a good block to deny Lemon before Sphinx started another good move with Liam McNally fired over from a good ball by Kyle Rhodes who stepped up in the first minute of stoppage time when Sphinx were awarded a penalty for a shove on Cutting. Sam Harvey dived to his right and Rhodes was left with the simple task of firing straight down the middle to put Sphinx a goal up at the break. Hednesford lost Alex Melbourne to an injury at half-time and replaced him with Neil Harvey who drew the visitors level in the 54th minute with a deflected shot following a corner.

O’Neill made another great save, diving to his right in the 56th minute to deny McPherson. Then out of nothing, Hednesford attacked down the right through Elliott Durrell and he whipped over a 68th minute shot which took a deflection that sneaked in at the far post. The reply from Luke Hopkins side was instant. Sphinx attacked down the right through Kieron Johal whose sublime cross was headed onto the bar by Cutting fell for Adam Bilic to score from close range.

Bilic Bundles The Ball Home.

 Both sides continued to battle, whilst the Sphinx support launched into an ironic cheer the few times that referee Sarah Garratt gave Sphinx a free kick or a decision. With six minutes left, a ball from Guest left Liam McNally with only the keeper to beat but he fired at Sam Harvey as did Cutting a minute later.

Sphinx then endured heartache in the 90th minute when Durrell ghosted into the box and was brought down be the merest of nudges. Durrell duly despatched the ball to O'Neill's right to give Hednesford a 3-2 lead

 Josh Johal was sent on for Sphinx and a free kick went narrowly wide before things got ugly. McPherson followed through with an elbow to Ritsons head but only received a yellow being very lucky not to get his marching orders. Ritson was then sent off for foul and abusive language.

Ritson Just fails To Connect.

Sphinx can be proud of there performance but its onto the bread and butter of the league with a tough away trip to Dunkirk on Saturday

Sphinx: O’Neill, Ritson (sent off 90+4), Hill, Bilic (J.Johal 90), Guest, Atkins, K.Johal, Rhodes, Cutting, McNally, Jackson. SNU Dyke, Muldoon, Holmes, Connolly.

Hednesford; S.Harvey, Disney, Taylor, Bailey, Barnes, Melbourne (N.Harvey 46), Durrell, Lemon, Wright, McPherson, Woolfe. SNU Sheare, Francis, Finchor


Goals Kyle Rhodes pen (45+1), Neil Harvey 54, Elliott Durrell 68 & 89), Adam Bilic 69

Booked Rhodes, Atkins, McPherson

Sent Off: Ritson

Referee Sarah Garratt. Assts Rob Cairns & Rich Cutts. Fourth Offical Ben Cooke


Hednesford Match Report

Hednesford Town reached the final of the Birmingham Senior Cup as a late Elliott Durrell penalty broke the hearts of Midland Alliance Coventry Sphinx who, to their credit, belied the gap in league position with a performance full of endeavour and commitment.

Hednesford should have scored at least twice in the opening fifteen minutes with Ben Bailey’s close range header saved by Carl O’Neill before Michael Lennon deflected a shot onto the cross bar.

Following their encouraging start The Pitmen struggled to find a passing rhythm thanks largely to the strong tackling of the home side and, despite Nathan Woolfe looking a class above on the left wing, Coventry took the lead on the stroke of half time when Kyle Rhodes converted a penalty conceded by Sam Barnes.

Hednesford equalised when substitute Neil Harvey ran across his marker and headed beyond the goalkeeper on 54 minutes and the away side could have taken the lead two minutes later but for a superb sprawling save by O’Neill from Dave MacPherson.

Neil Harvey turned in an Elliott Durrell cross on 67 minutes to make the score 2-1 but straight from the kick off The Pitmen were caught napping as Adam Billic scrambled in an equaliser.

Sphinx tried in vain for a winner until, with 89 minutes on the clock, Durrell was felled in the box and calmly converted the spot kick for Hednesford before tempers frayed with Pitmen captain MacPherson lucky not to be sent off for a strong challenge and Coventry’s James Ritson seeing red for foul and abusive language.

The Pitmen, fresh from Saturday’s defeat against North Ferriby, can deservedly take solace from another cup final appearance this season against either Stourbridge or Sutton Coldfield Town.

Hednesford Town
Hornby, Disney, Taylor, Bailey, Barnes, Melbourne (Harvey 45 (54, 67)), Durrell (89 Pen), Lennon, Wright, MacPherson (c), Woolfe

Subs Not Used
Shearer, Rey, Francis, Fincher

Coventry Sphinx
O’Neill, Ritson, Hill, Billic, Guest, Atkins, Johal. Rhodes (c), Cutting, McNally, Jackson

Subs Not Used
Dyke, Muldoon, Holmes, Connelly

Bookings – Atkins, Rhodes, MacPherson
Sent Off – Ritson

Star Man – Nathan Woolfe
Attendance – 149
Entertainment Rating – 4 Stars




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