Having been, surprisingly knocked out of the Connerty Cup by Oaks Institute, Coeur's only hope of cup glory this term lay in the Senior Shield, comprising of the first team of each club in the Liverpool Old Boys League. Having been drawn against division two opposition Quarry Bank in the previous round, Coeur again faced opposition from a higher division, this time in the shape of First Division side Business School .
Arriving at the Simpson ground Coeur were faced with a poor pitch on which any markings were barely visible. The ground was very heavy and was liable to ‘take a whole boot' as opposed to ‘taking a stud'. Despite the obvious shortcomings of the pitch, what followed was one of the classic cup ties in Coeur history.
After the sound thrashing of Bootleians last week, Coeur again started brightly, playing the better football and causing Business School some early problems. Inside the first 8 minutes Coeur had taken the lead. Darren Carr swept a glorious 50 yard pass over the head of the full back for the galloping Rob Philiskirk who, first time, crossed into the centre for Derrick Burns, who slotted it home at the second attempt.
Business School looked shell-shocked but it stung them into action. One of Business School 's lanky forwards bundled his way past the Coeur defence only for Si Furlong to deny him the equaliser, saving with his feet. Having been buoyed by this Business School decided to unleash their weapon of mass destruction, an Exocet of a throw in that travelled 35 yards in barely a second. It was one of these throws that provided them with an equaliser. Dropping near post a forward struck the ball against a Coeur defender, the ball then ricocheted of a Business School forward, hit Si Furlong in the face, hit the bar and then was bundled in by an attacker.
Having drawn themselves level, Business School then forced the game with a series of long throw-ins and corners. Si Furlong then denied the man with the rocket launching arms a goal from a corner, diving away to his left and somehow palming the ball over the bar from off the ground.
Unfortunately for Furlong, the level of his performance was to take a horrific dip. Business School again filled the six yard box with their beanpoles and waited for the searing throw in to arrive. Furlong took it upon himself to help his defence and ended up diverting the ball into his own net.
At half time Coeur felt that despite being 2 – 1 down, they were the side playing the better football and Business School were solely reliant on their Set Piece throw in. The second half followed a different pattern, Business School were penned back in their half for a sustained period of pressure, somehow managing to keep the score line in their favour. Ironically it was Business School who had the opportunity to further their lead, despite the Coeur pressure. Dave Looby, aware of the danger of the throw in attempted to clear the ball rather than concede the throw. The ball struck a Business School forward and as Dave swung to thrash the ball clear, he missed it completely and leathered the forward instead. The ref gave a penalty and forced the complaining Si Furlong to remain on his line, despite the fact his boots were slowly sinking below the mud and out of sight. Fortunately the penalty taker also encountered problems with his footing and blazed the ball wildly high and wide.
Coeur saw this as a let-off and pushed forward at will, only to gift Business School a third and probably killer goal. The defence failed to clear the ball and it dropped 12 yards out to be tucked neatly in the corner, past the lunging Andy Rannard screaming his war cry of “AAAANNNNNDDDY'S”
Business School were ecstatic and decided that they had the capabilities to sit deep and see out the remainder of the match. How wrong they were!! Coeur's ability and pressure began to pay dividends, Darren Carr saw his shot sliced into the net (definitely and o.g. for me but the referee awarded to Daz). Coeur were up for it at this stage and in their hour of need Paul Carr was introduced of the bench to see if he could add to his impressive goal scoring tally. Needless to say he did firing home to send the tie into extra time.
Having seen his side fight back so gallantly from 3 – 1 down, Si Furlong decided to spice things up by managing to punch another throw in into his own net. Business School couldn't believe their luck. However this Coeur side proves that when the chips are down, they can dig deeper and find the quality to overcome the opposition. Paul Carr again came to Coeur's rescue, this time receiving a ball down the left channel and hammering it across the keeper into the far corner, bursting the net in the process.
The second half of extra time saw more Business School throw-ins, 2 finding the back of the net directly, and being disallowed. Coeur also had a goal disallowed, Paul Carr called offside on a tight decision. But with 3 minutes to go and Si Furlong preparing for a chance to redeem himself in the penalty shootout, Paul Carr again broke free and slid the ball home to send the visiting side delirious.
Business School were stunned and responded by sending the big grock to launch more exocets into the Coeur six yard box, one unbelievably from barely 2 yards inside the Coeur half. Coeur stood strong with and when Si Furlong collected the last Business School corner, the referee blew to end something of an epic encounter.
Coeur produced a stunning performance, showing grit and determination coming from 3 -1 down and then 4 – 3 down in extra time to proceed to the last 8 of the Senior Shield. Paul Carr was at his clinical best to save Si Furlong from ending the match as top scorer, and facing the wrath of his team mates.
This typifies Coeur's belief and resilience this season, and while it will be tough, allows Coeur to realistically think that playing like this, they could progress further in this competition than any previous Coeur side in the club's history.
Business School 4 – 5 Sacre Coeur (A.E.T)