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Match Reports

REPORT: Sky Blues Under 21s beat Coventry Sphinx in Birmingham Senior Cup Quarter Final

15 March 2023

Match Reports

REPORT: Sky Blues Under 21s beat Coventry Sphinx in Birmingham Senior Cup Quarter Final

15 March 2023

Coventry City Under 21s booked their place in the semi-final of the Birmingham Senior Cup after a penalty shoot-out victory over Coventry Sphinx after a 1-1 draw on a rainy night in Coventry.

Tom Costello's first-half penalty had put John Dempster's side in front going into the break, but the hosts levelled through Loz Rawlings with 56 minutes on the clock and with no winner in 90 minutes, the tie was eventually settled on penalties in the Sky Blues' favour.

City enjoyed the better chances of the first-half, with Abel Alabi both going closest early on when his header from a corner just missed the frame of the goal. After 18 minutes, a smart turn from Harrison Nee in the Sphinx 18 yard box manouvered himself room for a shot which was turned aside by the leg of the home keeper.

Tom Costello almost capitalised in a scramble in the home six yard box with 33 minutes played however was thwarted by the Sphinx keeper, but while City were stretching the hosts and enjoying the best of the territory they were unable to create a clear enough chance to open the scoring.

After seeing one penalty shout for a potential foul turned down earlier in the tie, John Dempster's side were awarded a spot-kick after 40 minutes following a handball. Tom Costello, playing after being given permission by his loan side Banbury United to feature, stepped up to cooly dispatch low to the keepers right from 18 yards out to put the Sky Blues in front heading into the second-half.

Justin Obikwu replaced Costello as the teams emerged for the second-half, with the rain still lashing down. The hosts got themselves back into the game on 57 minutes when Loz Rawlings low effort from inside the box evaded Sky Blues keeper Tom Billson.

City almost scored ten minutes later when a corner was headed goalwards, however a goal-line clearance scuppered the Sky Blues attempt to swiftly regain the lead. Bradley Stretton, on for Aiden Finnegan, tested the Sphinx keeper on 67 minutes after a good move by the Sky Blues, who were being tested in the second-half by a Sphinx side who were livelier after the break and stretching the City defence.

With the tie heading towards 90 minutes, tempers flared twice in midfield as niggly fouls led to words being exchanged between both sets of players.

As the clock hit 87 minutes, the Sky Blues had the ball in the back of the net after a melee in the Sphinx area. However the referee ruled the goal out for offside and both teams would face penalties to decide the winner.

Captain Marco Rus slotted the first penalty away and with Sphinx missing their opening spot kick, City had the advantage. However, Callum Perry's miss for the Sky Blues' second penalty would see the scores at 4-4 after five efforts each.

Tristen Batanwi stepped up to leave City 6-5 ahead on penalties and then a miss by Sphinx's former Sky Blues youngster Callum Martin meant John Dempster's side were the winners in the tie to book a Semi-Final berth. The treacherous and moist conditions at Sphinx Industrial Supplies Arena caused by non-stop rain on the night meant that the Sky Blues struggled to get their passing game going at times, but were deserved winners of the tight tie against their near neighbours.

Sky Blues XI: Billson, Alabi, Perry, Batanwi, Eghosa (Lusala,66'), Finnegan (Stretton, 56'), Dinanga, Rus, I.Moore (Manners, 73'), Nee, Costello (Obikwu, 45').
Sub Not Used: Rachel (GK)

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