FOOTBALL: A PAIR of second half strikes for Boldmere St Michaels denied Coventry Sphinx any chance of advancing to the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.
Despite a typically British downpour moments before kick-off, groundsman Paul Wright’s hard work throughout the summer paid off as both teams contested Saturday’s season opening game in immaculate conditions.
Sphinx manager Stuart Dutton was missing a number of key players. Combined with the loss of midfielder Reece Blackmore to Bedworth United, Sphinx started Saturday’s game with just five players in the starting XI from last season.
The team looked strong though with debutants Chris Sterling and Alex Tomkinson recruited from a higher league and returners Ricky Hill and Louis Guest having played at a higher level in their time away from the club.
Slippery underfoot conditions after the heavy downpour meant several players lost their footing early on, though the ground soaked up the water well.
Boldmere enjoyed the best of the action up front, though Sphinx kept them honest when going agonisingly close to opening the scoring on 14 minutes when Callum Woodward’s shot hit the post before two subsequent follow up efforts were saved.
Both sides were looking to be positive with the ball but it was the visitors who were looking most likely to score.
Sphinx did have their chances with Harkin shooting just wide and shortly before half time Tomkinson headed over an excellent Harkin cross.
A lack of goals in the first half wasn’t matched in the second though as some sloppy defending gifted Boldmere St Michaels the lead.
The visiting side soon doubled their lead just before the hour mark to leave Sphinx with an uphill task ahead.
Though the hosts had their fair share of chances in the first half, Stuart Dutton’s men had little to cheer about in the second as Boldmere closed out the game to win 2-0.