THE FA Cup dream has ended early for Coventry Sphinx after they were hammered 5-0 by fellow Midland Premier League side Highgate on Saturday.
The two sides met in the Extra Preliminary Round at Sphinx Drive and the opening exchanges were mainly confined to midfield in a cagey start to the match.
The first good chance for home side fell to Mitchell Thomson but he headed over the bar when well placed to finish.
Highgate were competing well but they were regularly caught offside against an organised Sphinx defence and just before half time Sphinx had a glorious chance to take the lead but Jarrell Hylton was thwarted by Highgate keeper Bunn.
Less than a minute into the second half Sphinx spurned another chance with Thomson lifting his effort over the bar from a low right-wing cross.
The game burst in to life just before the hour when Sphinx’s Thomson was shown a straight red card following a poor tackle and Highgate’s Fitter followed him off the field for his reaction to the tackle.
Both sides were down to ten men but Highgate responded immediately with Jack Jeys finding the back of the Sphinx net twice in the space of just five minutes. First Jeys beat Dutton with a neat lob before the Highgate man reacted quickly in the box to fire home a second from close range.
Sphinx boss Stuart Dutton responded with two substitutions in an attempt to get his side back into the match and the hosts began to exert some sporadic pressure but Highgate were comfortable in defence.
There was no way back for Sphinx when Hawker scored goal number three from an unstoppable 78th minute free kick which flew into the top left-hand corner of Dutton’s goal.
Five minutes later came goal number four as Brown held onto Hawker’s pass before threading the ball through for substitute Nathan Corry to cut inside and beat Dutton with ease.
Brown himself was to be rewarded for his efforts with a goal at the death, the front man ghosting in at the far post for a bullet like header high into the roof of the net off Joe Cole’s precisely struck cross, the win no more than deserved after what had been an outstanding second forty five minutes from manager Ashley Pulisciano’s side.
A disappointed Sphinx boss Dutton said: “We have a lot of work to do as we start the League season at home to Brocton next Saturday.”