Sphinx: O’Neill, Ritson (sent off 90+4), Hill, Bilic (J.Johal 90), Guest, Atkins, K.Johal, Rhodes, Cutting, McNally, Jackson. SNU Dyke, Muldoon, Holmes, Connolly.
Hednesford; S.Harvey, Disney, Taylor, Bailey, Barnes, Melbourne (N.Harvey 46), Durrell, Lemon, Wright, McPherson, Woolfe. SNU Sheare, Francis, Finchor
HT CSFC 1-0 HTFC FT CSFC 2-3 HTFC ATT 148
Goals Kyle Rhodes pen (45+1), Neil Harvey 54, Elliott Durrell 68 & 89), Adam Bilic 69
Booked Rhodes, Atkins, McPherson
Referee Sarah Garratt. Assts Rob Cairns & Rich Cutts. Fourth Offical Ben Cooke
Coventry Sphinx gave everything they had but it was not enough to concede a last minute penalty and lose to Northern Premier League Premier Division side Hednesford Town in the Semi-Final of the Birmingham Senior Cup.
Sphinx had beaten Highgate United (5-4), won 3-0 at Solihull Moors and beaten Banbury United 5-1 to reach the Semi-Final and take on a side, which had scored fifteen goals in their three games in the competition so there was always going to be goals.
However, they would have to wait as Rickie Cutting glided his way through in the third minute but could only fire past Sam Harvey’s left hand post.
Hednesford first teamer Michael Woolfe who was a late edition to the visiting team was a handful all night and he struck the bar in the ninth minute before forcing O’Neill into a great save a minute later.
The visitors won four corners in succession and from a Woolfe cross, Asa Wright struck the bar.
O’Neill made a good block to deny Lemon before Sphinx started to get a grasp in midfield. Liam McNally fired over from a good ball in a move started by Kyle Rhodes who stepped up in the first minute of stoppage time when Sphinx were awarded a penalty for a shove on Cutting.
Sam Harvey dived to his right and Rhodes was left with the simple task of firing straight down the middle to put Sphinx a goal up at the break.
Hednesford lost Alex Melbourne to an injury at half-time and replaced him with Neil Harvey who drew the visitors level in the 54th minute with a deflected shot following a corner.
O’Neill made another great save, diving to his right in the 56th minute to deny McPherson.
Then out of nothing, Hednesford attacked down the right through Elliott Durrell and he whipped over a 68th minute shot which took a deflection that sneaked in at the far post.
The reply from Luke Hopkins side was instant. Sphinx attacked from the kick off. The ball hit the bar and fell for Adam Bilic to score from close range.
Both sides continued to battle, whilst the Sphinx support launched into an ironic cheer the few times that referee Sarah Garratt gave Sphinx a free kick or a decision.
With six minutes left, a ball from Guest left Liam McNally with only the keeper to beat but he fired at Sam Harvey as did Cutting a minute later.
Sphinx won a corner but in the 89th minute, the referee spotted a foul on Durrell who got up to score from the resulting penalty and put Hednesford ahead for the second time in the match.
Josh Johal was sent on for Sphinx and a free kick went narrowly wide before things got ugly with first McPherson getting booked and then the referee missing an elbow on a Sphinx player. James Ritson, like many in the crowd, objected to the lack of a red card from the referee and saw one himself for comment he made.
Sphinx tried to get the ball and get a goal to take the match into extra time but Hednesford were able to hold out and booked their place in the final against either Sutton Coldfield Town or Stourbridge.
Source: Coventry MAD