COVENTRY Sphinx go into tonight’s (7.45pm) FA Cup Preliminary Round tie at Mickleover Sports on the back of a 1-1 draw in midweek with Stourport Swifts.
Adam Bilic’s 19th-minute strike was immediately cancelled out by Swifts’ Cameron James-Peters, with the full-time scoreline a fair outcome given the balance of the encounter.
Five changes were made by manager Lee Knibbs, who drafted Callum Maspers, Liam Kay, Patsun Tufan, Lewis Noon and loanee Ryan Harkin into the side.
A fast start by Sphinx led to an early chance for Harkin, who managed the first effort on target, whilst new boy Iyseden Christie and Lawrence Rawlings also had attempts snuffed out.
The early pressure eventually paid off, when Callum Woodward’s cross into Harkin was thundered against the frame of the bar and touched home on the rebound by Bilic, following a wonderful team move by the hosts.
Harkin almost made it two straight after when firing against the legs of the visiting keeper before having the follow-up saved.
But to showcase the fine margins in football, Stourport went down the other end on the counter attack shortly after and scored when James-Peters was set-up for a simple finish at the far post.
Sphinx chances continued to come and go before the half was out, but the scores remained level going into the break.
Stourport began to force the agenda, with Tom Cross making a shutout with his legs before keeping out a follow-up, while Rawlings was unable to put away a rebound from Harkin’s saved effort.
The referee’s whistle signalled a point apiece for both sides, ensuring Sphinx bounced back with a positive display after last weekend’s drubbing by Sporting Khalsa.