SPHINX boss Luke Hopkins feels the best team won after watching his side run out eventual extra-time winners in their preliminary FA Cup tie at home to Lye Town.
Hopkins’ side won Tuesday night’s replay 2-1 thanks to goals from Richard Blythe and Luke Downes.
Lye’s Simon Williams had forced extra-time after scoring a 90th minute equaliser, but Downes’ strike on 104 minutes put Sphinx’s name in the hat for the next round.
“It was a great result and the benchmark is now set for the season,” said Hopkins.
“I can see why Lye finished in the top six in the League last season as they don’t stop. Even when we had large periods on top of the game they kept going and made it very hard for us.
“There is no denying that they are a physical team and that will win them points alone, but I felt we played the better football and deserved the win.”
Hopkins is trying not to single out individual players for praise so that other clubs do not become interested, but he did single out the efforts of goalkeeper Carl O’Neill.
“Every single man on Monday night was brilliant and deserved to be in the next round.
“If was looking to award a Man of the Match I could name all of the starting 11 and the three who came off the bench. Those subs were just as important as they helped us see out what we had.
“O’Neill made a couple of good saves when needed and was constantly switched on despite an early injury.
“The back four were brilliant, Jackson Downie slotted back in like he hadn’t just had a week in Ibiza. My four in midfield were outstanding and the front two showed me the best that I’ve seen from them so far.”
Sphinx will now face a trip to local rivals Rugby Town on August 29 for a place in the next round.
And Hopkins knows his side are in for another tough battle.
He added: “It’s openly known that we have quite a few people with the team top to bottom who have been there, played there, managed there very recently so something might be made of it in the coming weeks.
“I think it only helps. Rugby Town is a top class set up and facility which might come into the minds of players but we have players who are more comfortable having played hundreds of games there.
“Hopefully we can put together a little run, that’s three games unbeaten now and we’re counting.”
*Alvis Sporting boss Damian Cassidy marked his return to the club with a convincing 10-1 win at Tamworth-based Coton Green in the Midland League Division Two.
The Green Lane side took control from the kick off and led 6-1 at half time. A second half hat-trick from Dale Linton emphasised the total superiority of the Alvis side who sit top of the league.
Cassidy said: “For the first performance of the season it was a most pleasing start, and whilst I expect tougher games in the future, I was happy with the overall display, and, in particular, that all of the forwards got on the score sheet.”