Khalsa will face Stone Old Alleynians in the second round qualifying stage of the FA Vase after overcoming Coventry Sphinx in a replay. The score line suggests a routine outing for Ian Rowe‘s men but the reality was that for the majority of the game it could have gone either way.
After the madness of Saturday’s original outing, this was a relatively normal affair, although the sending off of Sphinx captain Callum Woodwood in the advanced stages of the second half provided a dose of chaos.
The first half was an even contest although arguably Khalsa carved out the better of the chances from a frantic, fast-paced game. As early as the second minute, Leon Miles’ header almost gave the home side the lead, the centre half connecting perfectly with a Lee Chilton corner but putting the ball just wide of the post with keeper Tom Cross beaten.
At the other end, Chris Sterling’s snap shot was held by Sam Arnold at the second time of asking after 15 minutes.
The second half saw Sphinx start with a real sense of intensity although, again, it didn’t really lead to many chances, a 56th minute effort by Leigh Phillips which flashed wide of Arnold’s goal the only real opportunity of note.
Perhaps the turning point of the game came within two minutes half way through the second half.
First, Woodward ridiculously got himself booked for dangerous play while trying to take a free kick, a moment of petulance that would be punished ten minutes later when a second booking for a foul saw him sent off.
And then Sterling went down in the box under pressure from Shawn Boothe for what looked like a strong penalty shout which was waved away by the ref.
Up front, Westwood was causing headaches for the defenders, forcing a good save from Cross on 75 minutes as he fizzed an effort low while surrounded by three defenders, and then five minutes later he shot just wide after doing well to create space for himself.
Meese wrapped the game up for Khalsa on 86 minutes, smashing the ball come from close range after good work by Thomas and substitute Jay Holdcroft. And Thomas put the icing on the cake, grabbing a well deserved goal on 90 minutes with a shot from range the keeper might feel he should have done better.
Sporting Khalsa: Sam Arnold, Carlo Franco (captain), Alex Melbourne, Shawn Boothe, Leon Miles, Alex Woodhouse, Mensah Kinch (Josh Thomas), Dave Meese, Dan Westwood (Jay Holdcroft), Lee Chilton, Rico Taylor (Alex Perry). Subs not used: Tes Robinson, Garfield Robinson.