FC Salle have proven to be a decent outfit over the last three seasons, finishing 4th the last 2 years and 5th the season before that. They also got their season off to a good start last week beating Old Instonians 4 - 1. After last week's draw against Alumni, Coeur were facing another tough match as they searched to find their feet in the top tier of the Liverpool Old Boys League. There was only 1 change in the 14 this week as John Baxendale replaced John Doyle.
The first 10 minutes of the game was fast and furious as FC Salle looked to carry on from where they left off last week. Coeur were second best in the early exchanges, yet John Barlow was in no danger of dirtying his gloves. Coeur came into the game and started creating chances. The keeper saved well from Chris Trow, then Craig fed a ball over the top, that Chris knocked down into the path of Andy Moran. Andy somehow managed to balloon the ball over the bar from 6 yards with only the keeper to beat (If anyone notices that ball land in the next few days, please return it next Saturday). Rob Philiskirk then found himself with a decent chance from 8 yards but failed to meet the ball with any convictions. At this stage Degsy was pulling the strings in midfield and Craig and Chris were looking sharp up front, so predictably, Coeur went a goal down. A quick break saw Coeur stretched at the back and Rannard was adjudged to have taken the man rather than the ball in his last ditch sliding effort. It didn't look that clean cut from where I was standing, but seeing as Rannard never got up and rebuked the referee, a penalty was probably the correct outcome. John stood no chance as the ball was smashed home from the spot. Coeur responded quickly and found themselves level within 5 minutes. Degsy killed the ball brilliantly, before turning and playing the ball to Craig. Craig flicked it up over the defender and span around the other side of him before sliding the ball on the volley in between the 2 FC Salle defenders. Chris Trow hared onto it from nowhere and touched it past the last defender and guiding it instantly past the onrushing keeper and into the bottom corner of the net. John was forced into his only true save of the game, coming out well and blocking a goal bound effort, only to see he needn't have bothered as the referee whistled for offside.
Half Time 1 - 1
The second half saw Coeur in control again, playing the better football and creating the better chances. Andy Moran lofted a cheeky ball over the FC Salle back line and Craig latched onto it, lifting it over the keeper only to see it rebound agonisingly back off the post and into the arms of the grateful keeper.
Degsy was forced into the back line after Mike Smith's knees had called time on his outing, and Rob Hatton had been introduced in his place. Rob was the next Coeur player to go close as he found himself free at the left hand side of the area. His fierce drive had a few FC Salle players worried as it whistled just over the bar. Chris Trow then followed this by cracking a volley on target, unfortunately right into the arms of the keeper. FC Salle were getting a increasingly frustrated at this stage and several of their players were lucky to escape the referees book for offences varying from booting the ball away as it was being spotted by John for a goal kick, to questioning the referees parentage. Coeur looked to take advantage of this as Chris fed Craig in with a slide rule pass. Craig took a touch and slid it past the keeper. The line stood and waited directly behind the shot as the Buckley Hill bobbles would determine whether or not the shot crept into the corner of the goal. it bounced left and missed the upright by less than an inch. FC Salle then threw the Croxteth version of Jan Koller on up front to try and snatch a winner, but it was Chris Trow who came closest at the end as his left foot effort drifted just wide of the post.
Full Time 1 - 1
Another decent performance from Coeur, saw them come away frustrated again. Surely next time the gods will be smiling upon Coeur as they seek a change of luck for their trip to Old Xavs.