FOOTBALL: RYAN Harkin found the back of the net on four occasions as Coventry Sphinx came out on top in a seven-goal thriller away at second-placed Coleshill Town in the Midland League Premier Division.
Man-of-the-match Harkin proved his importance to the team with a superb performance in front of goal at Pack Meadow on Saturday, as Sphinx came away with one of their best results of the season.
A sloppy start from Coleshill almost gifted Sphinx the lead as early as the second minute when Callum Woodward seized on a poor clearance but the home keeper collected his shot to save his blushes.
At the other end Stuart Dutton produced a fine save to keep the scoreline level before Sphinx produced a wonderful move for the opening goal.
The move burst to life with a driving run through midfield from Pierce Kiembi who picked out Nathan McGarrity on the right. He then played the ball to Harkin on the edge of the box and his first touch took him past a defender before rifling a shot into the bottom corner.
Kiembi wasted two good chances before Dutton made a save at his feet as the match developed into an entertaining affair.
Some sharp thinking from Woodward from a free kick put Harkin away but a rare miss-hit from him let Coleshill off just before the half-hour mark.
Just minutes later Harkin was released through on goal and this time the young striker made no mistake as he beat the keeper with a fine finish to put the visitors two goals in front at half-time.
Sphinx were forced into a change at half time with the dangerous looking Kiembi being replaced by young striker Kyle Jaynes, and after a re-shuffle the home side were able to pull a goal back six minutes after the re-start through Craig Milligan.
The Sphinx response was emphatic with the two-goal cushion restored within two minutes when Harkin claimed his hat-trick.
A powerful burst down the left by substitute Jaynes saw him get to the byline and float a cross in for the lurking Harkin to fire home his third goal at the far post.
Coleshill then exerted a spell of pressure which ultimately led to them getting a goal back again with Mykel Beckley beating Dutton in the 67th minute.
With the hosts pushing hard for an equaliser Sphinx had to defend well and they did just that before Harkin bagged his fourth six minutes from time.
Coleshill pulled a goal back late on but it proved to be little more than a consolation as Sphinx held out for all three points following a thrilling game of football.
*COVENTRY United slipped to a 4-2 defeat at home to St Andrews in the Midland League Premier Division.
After falling behind to an early Samuel Hollis strike, the hosts got themselves back on level terms thanks to Chris Cox after some brilliant work in the build up by Ben Valance.
Coventry took the lead for the first time in the match thanks to a scorcher from Jimmy Halton but a goals by Eliot Putman deep in first half stoppage time pulled the visitors level.
There was to be no further breakthrough for Coventry after the break, however goals from Robert Jake Morgan and Adam Swain earned St Andrews a comfortable win.