After a year in different divisions Sacre Coeur and Alsop renewed their long standing rivalry. These 2 sides had spent the best part of 6 years battling each other in various divisions of the Liverpool Old Boys League. Last year had seen Coeur struggle in the highest echelon of the Old Boys League, while Alsop had finished mid table in division 2 but had achieved glory by winning the Bill Hughes Cup. Despite some titanic battles over the years Coeur held a vast advantage in terms of results between the two sides, winning all but one of their last 10 meetings and conceding just 2 goals. So both sides had reason for optomism as they went into this game, Alsop having won a trophy last year, Coeur having dominated the previous meetings between the 2 sides,
Coeur took to their new home of Litherland Sports Park for the first time in a competitive fixture and looked to build on the win against Ercanil last week. Again Coeur's list of missing players was substantial, with Mike Smith having joined Philiskirk, Shelley and Scott on the physio table. Last season's top scorer Chris Trow was yet to make his bow this season, this week due to work commitments, but Coeur could welcome back Craig Burns to the fold.
An uncharacteristically sunny Septmeber afternoon saw Coeur stride out in their resplendant new kit, though the fat cat resembled Naranjito the mascot from Espana 82
. Coeur lined up in similar fashion to the previous week and dominated posession, without creating any clearcut chances in the first 20 minutes. Alsop attempted to hit Coeur on the break but in truth never looked like seriously threatening Coeurs goal. With half an hour on the clock, Coeur created an opening down the right from where the ball was cut back to Wes Grego who lashed a half volley first time towards the Alsop goal. The keeper never even saw the ball pass him, until it was going the other way having stopped just short of snapping the bar in two. Coeur continued pressing but a lack of width meant that Alsop were able to hold out despite a few hairy moments, most notibly 2 decent penalty appeals both for handling in the area. With half time fast approaching, Ged Grego nipped past a defender only to be callously felled by the next. the ball was placed down 25 yards from goal, where Kenni Jackson decided his left peg was the best option from this position. How right he was !!!! A delicious free kick saw the ball fly into the top left hand corner of the Alsop net. Within seconds of the restart the half time whistle was heard and Coeur went in with the lead that their play in the first half had merited.
Half Time 1 - 0
The early section of the second half followed a similar pattern with Coeur in complete control of the game. Craig Burns had a decent chance to double Coeur's lead but was unable to beat the keeper. Rob Hatton also had a brilliant forray forward beating 4 or 5 defenders before undoing his excellent work with one of the feeblest finishes known to man. Alsop changed their setup after 15 minutes to a 3-5-2 in an attempt to get back into the game. From this came their only 2 chances of the 90 minutes, the first a header pushed around the post by Si, then from the resulting corner two shot in sucession, the first kicked away by the keeper then the rebound fired wide of the heavily guarded near post.
Coeur responded by changing their system to match Alsop's and from then on in looked like the only side capable of winning the game. Further chances for Coeur to extend their lead saw Degsy's shot saved, before some scintilating play saw John Grego thunder into the box from full back, only to fire past the far post when it seemed easier to score.
Minutes later John Grego atoned for his wastefulness by sending Degsy clear through on goal. A calm head was required, and that was exactly what was delivered, as the ball was despatched past the keeper into the net to seal the win for Coeur.
Two wins out of two is a decent start to the season, despite Coeur not playing anywhere near their full potential.
Full Time 2 - 0