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Coventry's Premier Non-League Football Club

 

Proud to be an F.A. Charter Standard Club

26th December 2012

Bannister Pops Up Again.....

by Randy Forder

 

Coventry Sphinx 2 v 1 Stratford Town

 

On a wet sticky pitch Sphinx inflicted table toppers Stratford Town to there first away defeat of the season and a much needed 3 points. If this result was unexpected in some quarters it was not in the sphinx camp who have played very well since there 8-1 mauling by Gornal in the FA Vase.

Both sides had chances on a sticky pitch which was a credit to the Sphinx groundsman for getting the game on. Sphinx went in at half time thanks to a Kiam Galdins back post header from Liam McNally corner. Stratford came out with all guns blazing and equalised in the 70th minute from a scrambled Tyrone Fagan goal. Sphinx were not to be denied and in the 90th minute a delightful cross from Ashley Jackson into Matt Bannister path who didnt break stride and lashed the ball into the net to give Sphinx 3 well earned points.

If Sphinx can start to have a bit of belief in the ranks then more games will be won rather than lost or drew next up us a 6 pointer against Continental Star in another must win game.

 

Sphinx: O'Neill, Dyke, Hill, Bannister, Atkins, Guest, Mulldoon, McNally, Cutting, White, Galdins. Subs: Bilic, Jackson, Ritson SNU Taylor, Johal

 

Stratford Town: Jay, Faulds, Baker, Parker, R Robinson, Forde, Tulloch, Halsall, A Robinson, Fagan, Donaghy. Subs: A Edwards, Molyneux, Taylor. SNU Gourlay


Attendance: 121

 

Stratfords View.

LATE SPHINX WINNER STUNS TABLE TOPPING TOWN   

Coventry Sphinx     -     2      -       Gladins  21    Bannister  89         

Stratford Town       -     1      -       Fagan  70

 

Baker Joiner MFA leaders Stratford Town lost their unbeaten away record on Boxing Day when they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Coventry Sphinx

Second-placed Stourport Swifts' 3-1 home win over Westfields means that Town's advantage at the top of the table has now been reduced to 11 points. The two sides meet at Walshes Meadow on Saturday when Town come up against former boss Rod Brown who is in charge of the Worcestershire club.

On a day which saw just four MFA games go ahead after yet more rain in the Midlands, Town fell behind to a 21st minute header from Sphinx forward Kiam Gladins. Town midfielder Joe Halsall had three opportunities to level for the visitors but it was the plucky home side who maintained their 1-0 lead into the break.

A much-improved Stratford appeared in the second-half but they had to wait until the 70th minute when striker Tyrone Fagan stabbed home an Aaron Forde corner for the equaliser. Both teams went all out for the win but the Coventry side prevailed on 89 minutes when Matty Bannister chased a loose ball into the Town penalty area before lashing the ball past Town keeper Chris Jay for the winner.

Town boss Carl Adams said after the game: "Sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition. They played superbly and you can't take anything away from them. But having said that, I thought that it was an opportunity missed. Joe Halsall had three chances in the first-half which on another day he might well have taken.

"It's not the end of the world. If someone had said that at this stage of the season we would be 11 points clear at the top and lost just two out of 22 games I would have taken that. "It's all about how we react now. The last time we lost we bounced back and we have a great opportunity to do that on Saturday when we go to Stourport, that's a massive game now."

A Town side unchanged from their last outing at Coleshill Town included new signing Ashley Edwards on the bench. In the expected heavy conditions after the constant rainfall it was the home side who adapted the better early on.

Former Town Youth team striker Harry White headed over and Gladins flashed a left-footed effort just wide of Jay's post. A fine passing move between White and Bannister saw the latter pick out Gladins with a low cross and his effort was cleared off the line by Mark Faulds.

But Town hit back and when Tyrone Fagan crossed from the left Harry Donaghey's header hit the base of the post. Fagan then had the ball in the net but was ruled offside.

Sphinx took the lead on 21 minutes when Gladins climbed the highest at the far post from a right-wing corner to head home.

Town began to find their stride with Halsall in the thick of the action. On 30 minutes he missed a golden opportunity when he snatched his shot wide when well placed, and after going close with another effort, he headed Ricky Baker's cross wide when he should have hit the target.

In the second-half, Faulds had a free-kick held by Sphinx keeper Carl O'Neill under his crossbar before Adams made the first of three changes when he brought on Rico Taylor for winger Simeon Tulloch.

As the action intensified, Sphinx had another effort cleared off the line and Jay pulled off a smart save to deny the Coventry side.

But after Fagan hit the post with a header from a Donaghey cross, the big front man had his say on 70 minutes with the equaliser. Forde's corner wasn't dealt with by the Sphinx defence and Fagan was on hand to stab the ball past O'Neill.

With newcomer Edwards and Jamie Molyneux entering the fray both sides went all out for the winner. Taylor blazed wide for Town and the dangerous Rickie Cutting shot just wide for Sphinx.

With just a minute of normal time remaining Sphinx struck the killer blow with Bannister's crucial strike.

MATCH REPORT BY KIND PERMISSION OF STRATFORD HERALD'S MICK CLEWES

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