FOOTBALL: COVENTRY Sphinx claimed back-to-back league wins for only the second time this season as Ryan Harkin bagged another brace in a 3-1 victory away at Tividale in the Midland League Premier Division.
A combination of suspensions, injuries and unavailability meant Stuart Dutton was forced to play a number of players out of position but this did not deter Sphinx who picked up three points despite also being down to ten men in the second period.
There were four changes to the team that beat AFC Wulfrunians on Saturday at Sphinx Drive, the most telling of those were in defence with midfielders Jack Downes and Luke Downes filling in at full-back, while Saturday’s match winner Harkin started up front.
The hosts started with the energy you would expect but Scott Dutton remained relatively underworked in the Sphinx goal. The hosts got their first real sight on goal on 12 minutes but the cross from the right was skied over the bar.
Then came the key passage of the half with Tividale getting a penalty in the 22nd minute. The spot kick was struck hard and low but Scott Dutton was equal to it and dived low to his left to beat away the effort.
The Sphinx response was instant with Harkin being sent through on goal and despite seeing his first shot saved, he was able to bury the rebound home to give the visitors a 24th minute lead, which is how it remained at half-time.
Tividale started the second half as they searched for a way back into the game and on the hour mark things appeared to have turned in their favour when Reece Blackmore was awarded what looked like a harsh red card.
The best response to a setback is to go and score and that is exactly what Sphinx did and it was no other than that man Harkin again.
Kiembi was fouled on the edge of the area and Harkin stepped up to hit a perfect free kick just inside the keeper’s right-hand post to give his side a two-goal advantage.
The bad luck continued with a clash of heads resulting in a nasty head wound for Scott Lower, which forced Sphinx to play a good few minutes with only nine men.
But the visitors again responded to a setback with a fine goal in the 80th minute. A good free kick delivery was met by the head of Towers in the penalty area and his inch perfect header left the keeper rooted to the spot as it nestled in the top corner.
With Lower unable to continue, Tividale made the most of their two-man advantage and pulled a goal back with six minutes remaining but Sphinx held on for a second in four days.