And so another season begins for Coeur, this time playing in Division 1 of the Liverpool Old Boys League for the first time in 18 years.
With Si Furlong having been entrusted with the sheepskin for a tenth consecutive season, Coeur set off to Jericho Lane to face their nemesis from last season Alumni. A few new faces have been drafted into the fold, but Coeur were still missing some influencial players in the shape of Dave Looby and Neil Shelley, meaning that Mike Smith dropped back to play alongside Rannard who was starting his 21st season playing for Coeur. Chris Trow was starting his first competitive game for Coeur after having impressed with 6 goals in his 2 pre season outings. Kenni Jackson and Andy Moran also lined up for Coeur in a new look midfield, the former returning to the fold after a 2 year absence and the latter making his Coeur debut.
The first half was a tight affair, but both sides were playing neat football without truly threatening in the opening 20 minutes. Chris Trow came closest to opening the scoring in the first half after latching onto a delightful ball from Craig Burns, only to see his effort mis the bar by inches. Craig was also looking lively but was unable to find the target as a 20 yard drive drifted past the post. Alumni had a couple of half chances, but debutant keeper John Barlow was untroubled.
Half Time 0 - 0
Coeur came out for the second half and adopted an adventurous 2 - 5 - 3 formation as Alumni only saw fit to play one alone up front. Mike Smith marauded forward at will from the back, and was aided by the the calm control of Degsy, the guile of Andy Moran and the powerful running of Harper. Coeur were on top at this stage and ChrisTrow stood a defender up before rattling the crossbar with a thnderous effort that the keeper only saw on the way back past him. Criag was tormenting the Alumni defence and presented another chance to Chris who saw his goalbound effort blocked.
Eventually Coeur took the lead and it was Chris Trow displaying his clinical finishing in fron of goal again. Craig threaded a through ball into Chris who had to fight to nick it past the last defender, before sidestepping the advancing keeper and rolling it into the net. The lead lasted all of 60 seconds as Alumni broke quickly down the wing. Rob Phil did his best to keep up with the speedy winger, only to see the ball ricochet unkindly as he put a tackle in. The ball was fed into the box and found it's way into the net via a bundle of 4 players at the near post. I couldn't quite see who finished it, though it appeared that ball had crossed the line up someones jumper, like a back row forward from the New Zealand All Blacks.
Gutted wasn't the word, but Coeur responded well with Craig just unable to convert a Degsy free kick and John Doyle just getting a nick onto a header when Rob Phil was steaming in behind him. In the end time beat Coeur in their search for a winner, but it was heartening to see them controlling the last 15 minutes when in search of an winner.
Full Time 1 - 1
All agreed that before the game 1 - 1 would have been considered a decent enough result against Alumni, but on the balance of play, Couer felt a little dissapointed that they never managed to wrap up the win.