GOALS from substitute Ryan Palmer and captain Callum Woodward ensured that Coventry Sphinx got off to a winning start in Midlands Football League Premier Division, after beating ten-man Tividale 2-0.
Palmer marked his debut with a goal in the 77th minute with his first touch on the pitch, while Woodward sealed the points with a 90th minute penalty, although the scoreline may have looked different had the visitors converted a first-half spot kick.
Tividale’s Dan Smith was brought down inside the penalty area after an open start to the game, but Jake Webb smashed the resulting kick from 12 yards wide of the mark.
Sphinx were forced into a substitution just before the break when Charlie Faulkner was involved in a clash with another player, resulting in a fractured shoulder diagnosis upon his visit to hospital.
The tide of the game dramatically turned when Curtis Cocking was shown a straight red card for the away side, after a late challenge on Sphinx’s Max Howard.
Being allowed to throw more caution to the wind, manager Lee Knibbs sent strikers Luke Barlone and Palmer into the fray, with the latter having an immediate impact when getting in behind the defence and meeting a through ball by Woodward to lift a shot over the onrushing keeper and into the net.
Sphinx themselves were down to ten men for ten minutes after Jamie Draper was sinbinned – the first Coventry player to be on the receiving end of the new law, but the hosts still managed to throw numbers forward and wrapped up the game when Woodward fired home from the spot in the final minute.
Knibbs’ side next visit Nottingham side Long Eaton on Tuesday night, before hosting Coventry United in an FA Cup extra preliminary round clash at Sphinx Drive on Saturday.